X-ray imaging, which is also known as radiography, is actually the most commonly used imaging procedure in the field of veterinary medicine. Pet x-ray images are made using equipment that has been designed specifically for animals, and they work well for viewing bones, foreign objects and large body cavities. Dr. Wood can use x-rays to help detect fractures, tumors, injuries, infections and deformities, and while they may not give her enough information to determine the exact cause of your pet’s problem, they can help her to determine which other tests will be necessary in order to make an accurate diagnosis.
As is the case with humans, pet x-rays are done in such a way that exposure lasts only a fraction of a second and is directed only at the area to be examined. Lead shields are used to protect those body areas that are not being x-rayed. When it comes to imaging soft tissues such as body organs, specialized x-rays, called contrast procedures, are used. This is because the body’s soft tissues do not actually absorb x-rays well, and can therefore be difficult to see with normal x-ray procedures. In contrast imaging, pets are given a special dye that will help to block x-rays so that the kidneys, heart or digestive tract can be viewed.
The entire x-ray procedure is painless, but in some cases Dr. Wood may recommend that your pet be sedated in order to reduce the stress and anxiety often associated with the procedure, and to ensure that they remain still while the images are being taken.