Radiography

Radiography

Our hospital is fully equipped to take radiographs (X-rays) of your pet should they be necessary to assist diagnosis and/or treatment.  Our veterinarians will discuss your pet’s case and conduct a thorough physical examination to determine if your pet requires radiographs, which 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 it is booked in for radiographs?

At Rural Veterinary Services we have a digital X-ray machine which allows us to immediately visualise images on a computer screen. This technology also enables us to refer images to specialist veterinarians, if required. 

Although sedation is often not required for radiographic procedures, some level of sedation/anaesthesia may be required if your pet becomes anxious or is unable to remain still.

Most of our patients are admitted into hospital for the day to have radiographs taken, unless it is an emergency and we’ll take them immediately. We ask that you bring your pet in unfed on the morning of admission, as they will most likely be sedated or anaesthetised to allow us to take the best quality radiographs possible.

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. In some instances, sedation or general anaesthesia may be needed and will require your pet to have been fasted for a 12-hour period. General anaesthesia is often needed in order to perform stress X-rays to assess ligament integrity or to perform x-rays of the head and mouth. 

We try without sedation however for us to take good quality radiographs required to diagnose their condition sometimes 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. We will demonstrate and explain the radiographs when your pet goes home.