Skip to Main Content
Ask About Financing

X-Rays for Dogs

Diagnostic imaging can be used to monitor and diagnose a range of illnesses and medical conditions in your pet's body. Here, our Crystal Lake veterinary specialists share the common uses of X-rays for dogs and what you can expect from veterinary diagnostic imaging in our laboratory.

What is veterinary diagnostic imaging?

Veterinary diagnostic imaging includes X-rays (radiographs), ultrasound, MRIs (magnetic resonance imaging), and CT (computed tomography) scans. These are all diagnostic tools used to collect information about your dog's health. Most types of diagnostic imaging are painless and non-invasive. For some types, your dog may require sedation or anesthesia to help them remain still. This is needed because certain techniques can only produce clear images if the patient is still. The vet will use the images and the information they provide to diagnose your dog and create a treatment plan suited to their condition and needs.

When would my dog need to visit our veterinary diagnostic lab for an X-ray?

If your dog shows concerning symptoms and you bring them to your primary care vet, they will typically begin the visit with a physical exam. In some cases, they may also request diagnostic imaging such as X-rays.

The goal of the X-ray is to help form a diagnosis, allowing for the development of a treatment plan. However, X-rays may not reveal all the information needed, so further testing may be required. Your dog may need an X-ray for situations like:

  • Broken bones
  • Bladder stones
  • Pregnancy
  • Swallowed objects
  • Tumors
  • Arthritis
  • Pneumonia
  • Enlarged organs

What will happen during my dog's X-ray?

When your dog has an X-ray, the process will likely go something like this:

  • First, the vet will place your dog on the diagnostic imaging table. Dogs are generally awake during this procedure unless they are in pain, anxious or unable to stay still. In these cases, the vet may choose to sedate your dog until the imaging is complete.

  • Next, the veterinarian will place a special type of film underneath the target area of your dog's body.

  • The X-ray machine will be positioned above this area, and the images will be taken. The resulting images will show white for dense tissues like bones and varying shades of grey for all soft tissues.

  • If necessary, your vet will reposition your dog to take additional images.

While X-rays have traditionally been captured on physical film, modern X-ray machines can produce digital images that are stored on a computer server. This allows for quick results and easy access during diagnosis and treatment.

How long do X-rays take to perform on dogs?

You can expect the entire procedure at our veterinary diagnostic lab to take about 10 minutes. Once your vet has the images, they can then store them for future reference or display them to aid in discussions about diagnosis and treatment options.

Are X-rays a safe diagnostic option for dogs?

The use of X-rays as a diagnostic tool is irreplaceable and while this diagnostic test requires radiation, the levels are low enough that it is deemed safe for pets.

If you would like to speak in detail about the safety of your pet during their X-ray please talk to your vet. Your veterinarian can answer your questions and give you an understanding of the risks versus the benefits.

What is the cost of diagnostic imaging for dogs?

The cost of your dog's X-rays depends upon a range of factors, including the size of your pet, the body part being X-rayed, whether sedation was necessary, the type of veterinary clinic, where the animal hospital is located, and more. Most veterinary hospitals are happy to provide clients with an estimate regarding the cost of any service, including dog X-rays. If you are concerned about the cost of your pup's X-rays, ask your vet for an estimate before proceeding.

Veterinary Diagnostic Imaging in Crystal Lake

With X-rays for dogs, a vet can often diagnose issues and develop a treatment plan without the need for further or more invasive testing. X-rays may also reveal conditions or abnormalities that require further imaging or diagnostics tests.

Because X-ray images can be captured and viewed within minutes, they allow for a timely investigation into your dog's issues. The sooner a diagnosis can be reached, the sooner treatment begins, providing the best possible outcome.

Our internal medicine team is highly trained to treat challenging or ongoing illnesses affecting pets’ internal organs and bodily systems. If your veterinarian has been attempting to diagnose your pet and is unable to determine which condition they are being affected by or treatment is not bringing about the desired results they may refer you to the internal medicine specialists at our veterinary diagnostic laboratory in Crystal Lake.

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.

Is your dog experiencing a complex medical situation requiring the care of internal medicine specialists? Ask your primary care veterinarian about a referral to CASE Hospital for advanced diagnostics. We're here to help.

New Patients Welcome

Companion Animal Specialty and Emergency Hospital is accepting new patients! Our specialists and experienced emergency veterinarians are passionate about restoring good health to animal companions in Crystal Lake.

Contact Us

Contact (815) 479-9119