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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.

What Is an X-Ray and Why Would My Dog Need One?

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

●      Cavities

●      Broken bones

●      Bone abnormalities or joint swelling

●      Abnormal shape and size of liver, kidneys, and spleen

●      Tumors or foreign objects in the body

●      Pregnancy

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.

What To Expect During Your Dog’s X-Ray

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.

Are dog X-rays safe?

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.

What is the difference between an X-ray and a CT scan?

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.

What Impacts the Cost of Dog X-Rays?

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

How To Save on Dog X-Rays

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.

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Nothing in this article should be construed as financial, legal or veterinary advice. Please consult your own advisors for questions relating to your and your pet’s specific circumstances.

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 “Radiographs (X-Rays) for Dogs,” VCA Animal Hospitals

3 “How Much Does A Dog X-Ray Cost? And Why Your Dog Might Need One,” Canine Journal

4 “Canine Medical Imaging, Ultrasound, MRI, X-Rays, Radiographs,” GoodVets