How Much Does a Cat X-Ray Cost? What to Know

Four Minutes
Nov 04, 2022

An X-ray is a common diagnostic tool veterinarians use to take care of our pets, and the cost of these scans may catch pet parents off guard. The typical cost for a cat’s X-ray may be as little as $100 to as much as $250

Let’s discuss the cost of veterinary X-rays and what you should expect to pay during your cat’s lifetime.

Why Are Cat X-Ray Costs All Over the Place?

Does it feel like the price tag on veterinary care is getting larger? Well, that’s because it is. In 2021, pet parents in the United States spent just over $34 billion dollars on vet care and products.4 We should expect 2022 and 2023 to exceed this number easily. There are many other factors — including inflation and rising rent prices for businesses — that contribute to why your vet bill is getting larger every year.

To further complicate things, veterinary costs vary across the country and from facility to facility.³ A low-cost veterinary clinic may charge you $100, while the emergency clinic two miles away will likely charge you double.

Types of cat X-rays

Generally speaking, an X-ray creates an image of parts of the body using a small amount of radiation. Different organs and bones absorb the radiation, creating a black-and-white image with shades of gray.

The cost of your cat’s X-ray may depend on what area of the body they are scanning. X-rays can be used to scan small areas, like your cat’s paws, or larger parts of the body, like your cat’s torso. As you can imagine, smaller images may not cost as much as bigger ones. Be sure to discuss the rates with your veterinarian before the procedure to avoid sticker shock.

Why Your Cat May Need an X-Ray

Vets use X-rays for a litany of reasons, including:

  • Wellness checks: Many vets take X-rays during annual checkups to assess the overall health of your cat’s body. Cats sometimes don’t show when they are in pain or in distress, even if they have broken ribs.
  • Senior care: Arthritis and stomach troubles may be a part of your everyday life if your kitty has entered their golden years. X-rays are used to create treatment plans for common age-related issues.
  • Detection of diseases: Kitties get sick, just like their humans do. A scan can diagnose asthma and heart disease or locate tumors.
  • Dental x-rays: Poor dental hygiene is one the most common health problems cat owners face. X-rays are required to determine which teeth need to be extracted or if infections have spread to other body parts.   

You may be tempted to skip your cat’s X-ray in order to save money in the short term, but that could endanger your pet’s health in the long term. As you can see, X-rays can help vets identify what’s troubling your kitty so an informed treatment plan can be put in place. They can also help catch certain maladies early to save you from possibly spending more money on more expensive procedures later.

Two women in an exam room with a black cat, examining its x-ray

Warning: Emergency Cat X-Rays Cost More

Sadly, accidents happen outside business hours. You may find yourself at an emergency vet hospital with a sick or injured cat in tow, and it may cost you.

The exact cost of the x-ray could easily exceed our conservative estimate of $250.³ Typically, emergency vet clinics operate 24 hours per day, with most of them usually performing all their blood work on-site to ensure pet parents get quick answers. These facilities hire veterinary imaging specialists to work these long hours. Without cat insurance, you will feel the pinch when you get the bill for this on-site expertise.

Save on Your Cat’s X-Ray Cost

It cannot be overstated how the kind of vet facility you visit matters. Ask your vet if they conduct their labs and scans on-site. Many vets cannot afford X-ray machines, but this may be a good thing since you’re in a position where you can shop around. Consider a low-cost veterinary clinic or find a veterinary imaging center. They may offer lower rates.

Struggling To Pay for the Vet? MetLife Wants To Help!

Your feline friend will likely need an X-ray at some point in their long, long life. This long-standing, reliable practice helps your vet take care of your cat — no matter the circumstances. Remember to ask how much cat X-rays cost while you’re checking in with the receptionist. They will most likely be happy to work with you, even getting you a referral to an imaging center you can afford.

We at MetLife Pet Insurance¹ can also help make vet bills less stressful. Consider investing in pet insurance, as a policy can cover the cost of digital diagnostics, even in emergency clinics.¹,² Get started today with a free quote from MetLife Pet Insurance, winner of the “Pet Insurance of the Year” Award in the 2023 Pet Independent Innovation Awards Program. 

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Dr. Hunter Finn is an integrative veterinary expert first, and social media star second. America’s favorite veterinarian owns Pet Method in McKinney, Texas, where he cares for pets while prioritizing their emotional well-being. When he’s not at his clinic, he’s starring in viral videos on TikTok (2 million followers) and Instagram (500K followers) — where he’s been known to snuggle puppies and conquer the latest dance trends.

¹ Pet Insurance offered by MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions LLC is underwritten by Independence American Insurance Company (“IAIC”), a Delaware insurance company, headquartered at 485 Madison Avenue, NY, NY 10022, and Metropolitan General Insurance Company (“MetGen”), a Rhode Island insurance company, headquartered at 700 Quaker Lane, Warwick, RI 02886, in those states where MetGen’s policies are available. MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions LLC is the policy administrator authorized by IAIC and MetGen to offer and administer pet insurance policies. MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions LLC was previously known as PetFirst Healthcare, LLC and in some states continues to operate under that name pending approval of its application for a name change. The entity may operate under an alternate, assumed, and/or fictitious name in certain jurisdictions as approved, including MetLife Pet Insurance Services LLC (New York and Minnesota), MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions Agency LLC (Illinois), and such other alternate, assumed, or fictitious names approved by certain jurisdictions.

² Provided all terms of the policy are met. Application is subject to underwriting review and approval. Like most insurance policies, insurance policies issued by IAIC and MetGen contain certain deductibles, co-insurance, exclusions, exceptions, reductions, limitations, and terms for keeping them in force. For costs, complete details of coverage and exclusions, and a listing of approved states, please contact MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions LLC.

³ “Pet Emergency Statics and Veterinary Costs,” Preventative Vet

“Pet Industry Market Size, Trends & Ownership Statistics,” American Pet Products Association

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