If you’ve ever been in a situation where your dog is injured or sick, you know how scary it can be to bring them to the vet and have an array of tests run. One of the most common diagnostic tests is an X-ray, which can be used to identify illness or injury. They can even be used preventatively to check in on your dog’s health or monitor their recovery after a procedure.
So, how much is an X-ray for a dog? The good news is that they typically cost less than human x-rays, however the price varies depending on a few factors. Learn more about how X-rays are used to help your dog, the costs associated with X-rays, and ways to save.
X-rays, also known as radiographs, are diagnostic imaging tests that penetrate tissue to show internal structures like bones and teeth, as well as some soft tissues like the kidneys and liver. The process is similar to human X-rays although the voltage is different to accommodate the differences in human and dog anatomy.
Some common reasons your veterinarian may recommend your dog get an X-ray include:
● If you suspect they have ingested a foreign object
● If your dog may have an internal injury of some kind
● If they’re getting a routine dental cleaning
● To confirm or monitor pregnancy
If your dog is choking on something, vomiting, limping, or otherwise acting unlike themselves, bring them to the vet for a second opinion. X-ray testing allows your vet to make informed decisions regarding your dog’s care and can help them identify next steps. An X-ray can give a clearer picture of your dog’s internal concern and determine whether surgery or some expert maneuvering is needed. 2
Below are some maladies that can be identified from an X-ray:3
● Broken bones
● Bone abnormalities or joint swelling
● Abnormal shape and size of liver, kidneys, and spleen
● Tumors or foreign objects in the body
Depending on the results of your dog’s X-ray test, potentially along with some other tests like a CT scan, ultrasound, and/or blood work, your vet will recommend a more thorough treatment plan.
Your dog may need an X-ray for an emergency instance or for a scheduled check-up like a dental appointment. The good news is you don’t need to prepare your dog for this appointment, as it’s a relatively simple diagnostic test that can be done with everything your vet or emergency clinic has on hand.
Your dog will need to be still while the X-ray captures the image, so your vet might sedate your dog depending on their temperament or condition. However, if your dog is able to sit still comfortably on an examination table while getting the X-ray, this won’t be necessary. The images only take a few moments to capture, making it a simple and effective test.
X-rays for dogs are considered safe and are commonly reserved for specific instances, much like how they’re used for humans. Unless your dog has an injury, a toothache, or something else concerning, your vet may not recommend an X-ray and may opt for a CT scan or an ultrasound instead.
In short, X-rays are less detailed than CT scans and don’t draw the same conclusions. CT scans show different levels of tissue density and show more detailed images compared to X-rays. CT scans require your dog to be sedated and are commonly used to identify tumors, deep abscesses, foreign bodies, and broken bones.4 This means that an X-ray may offer initial information that a CT scan can then confirm.
Prices can vary depending on your emergency clinic or vet. X-ray costs vary, but are commonly dependent on a few factors. This includes the size of your dog, where the injury or X-ray site is located, and whether sedation is required. Your vet is likely able to give you a quote prior to moving forward with the testing, but it is almost always necessary to help your vet determine how to move forward with your dog’s treatment plan. The average cost of dog X-rays is about $150 to $250, but some can cost upwards of $500.3
X-rays are often medically necessary testing to help confirm a diagnosis for an illness, injury, or other condition inflicting your pooch. Consider investing in a dog insurance policy from MetLife1 to help offset the cost of diagnostic testing like X-rays. That way, you can have the peace of mind you need to help your furry best friend get the care they need.