Our hospital is fully equipped to take radiographs (often called x-rays) of your pet.  Our veterinarians will discuss your pet’s case and conduct a thorough physical examination to determine if your pet requires radiographs. Radiographs are a very important tool to help us diagnose diseases in animals, particularly for conditions involving bones, the chest or abdomen.

What happens to my pet when they are booked in for radiographs?

Generally, patients are admitted to the clinic for the day to have radiographs taken in the morning. We ask that you bring your pet in unfed (fasting but hydrated) on the morning of admission, as they will most likely be sedated or anaesthetised to allow us to take the best quality radiographs possible. In the event of an emergency, the images will be taken immediately. Your veterinarian will discuss the diagnosis and a treatment plan for your pet with you.

Why do pets need to be sedated or anaesthetised to have radiographs taken?

When we have radiographs taken the radiographer asks us to keep perfectly still, often in unnatural positions.  Most pets would never lie still enough, in the correct position, for us to take good quality images required to diagnose their condition. Your veterinarian may also need to palpate (feel) the area or assess the movement of a joint which is often best done under sedation. Sometimes x-rays can be taken without sedation, but this depends on the situation and area to be x-rayed. Sedation and anaesthesia allow us to get the most useful radiographs possible.

How are radiographs made?

Taking a radiograph is very similar to taking a photo, except we use x-rays instead of light rays. Different tissues in the body absorb x-rays to differing degrees. Of all the tissues in the body, bone absorbs the most x-rays. This is the reason that bone appears white on a radiograph. Soft tissues, such as the heart, kidneys or other organs, absorb some but not all of the x-rays, so they appear on a radiograph in different shades of grey. The air-filled lungs absorb relatively few x-rays so appear dark grey or black on a radiograph.