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How Much Does a Dog X-Ray Cost in 2022?

Hallie Roddy

By Hallie Roddy

dog x-ray at the vet clinic

We can’t always keep our pets safe and sadly, life is full of ups and downs, injuries, and illnesses. This doesn’t always warrant emergency veterinary care, but there are times when X-rays are necessary to treat your pup.

When you bring your pet in for a checkup, your vet might recommend taking a closer look. This can sometimes mean taking blood work or stools samples, but there is also a chance that a radiograph is needed. X-rays can add a substantial increase to your vet visit costs, which leaves many dog owners wondering why they’re necessary and just how much it’s going to cost them. X-rays can cost between $75 and $500 for your dog. Keep reading to learn more!

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The Benefits and Limitations of X-rays for Dogs

Your dog isn’t going to have to get an X-ray every time they go to the vet. Radiographs use electromagnetic waves to provide images of your dog’s internal muscles, organs, bones, and blood vessels. The process is both quick and painless and only exposes your animal to small amounts of radiation. One X-ray will only expose your pooch to about the same amount of radiation they experience over ten days in everyday life.

dog held by a vet
Image Credit: J C, Pixabay

Benefits

The good thing about taking an X-ray is that it provides your vet with the most accurate information. If your dog were to have a broken bone, the images would show precisely where the bone was cracked. If they ingested a foreign object, it would show where exactly the object is stuck inside their body. X-rays can reveal things like bone cancer, infections, arthritis, and dental decay as well. The knowledge that a vet gains from one X-ray could be the difference between life and death in some cases.

Limitations

Even though X-rays can be helpful, they aren’t always the best tool for diagnosing every single health problem. For some dogs, taking blood is the only way to test for certain diseases. X-rays are also not to be confused with other types of diagnostic images. For example, vets might opt for an ultrasound or CT scan as opposed to an X-ray because they can provide images that radiographs can’t.

How Much Does an X-ray Cost?

Expect to pay anywhere from $75 to $500 for a dog X-ray. We understand that this is a big range. However, these prices are constantly changing based on many factors.

Over time, visits to the vet can really add up. If you're looking for a good pet insurance plan that won't break the bank, you may want to look at Lemonade. This company offers adjustable plans customized to your pet's needs.

Sedation

Some dogs that are extremely nervous or in severe pain might not be able to sit still long enough to get proper X-ray images. If this is the case for your dog, the vet might require some sort of sedation or anesthesia to perform the procedure. Another reason sedation might be necessary is if your dog needs to have their muscle relaxed to see a clear image.

Injury Location

Some parts of a dog’s body are a lot easier to access for an X-ray than others. A dog’s paw, for example, could be easier than their head or tail.

Number of X-Rays Needed

Some vets prefer to see the injury from multiple viewpoints. The more pictures that need to be taken, the higher the price for those images.

Geographic Location

As with most businesses, the location where you reside could be a significant cost factor. Like most goods and services, prices are higher near urban or highly populated areas compared to rural locations. X-ray prices can also vary based on each vet office, even if they are in the same city.

When Should My Dog Get an X-ray?

X-rays are one of the best methods for allowing your vet to see what’s happening inside your pup’s body. There are quite a few conditions that warrant this procedure.

Broken Bones

If your vet is suspicious of broken bones, it’s almost guaranteed that they’ll perform an X-ray. This is the best way to find the exact location and severity of the break.

Orthopedic Issues

Orthopedic issues in dogs are very common. Many dog breeds are prone to hip dysplasia, and an X-ray gives your vet a clear view to see how their condition has progressed. It also allows them to take that information and use it to determine the best course for treatment.

Intestinal Blockages

We all know that dogs are notorious for chewing and ingesting anything in their path. There are times when our dogs swallow objects that are not digestible and cause serious problems for them. X-rays give vets an image of what they ate and where the object is in their intestinal tract. Because blockages can be life-threatening, an X-ray is the quickest way to identify the problem and potentially prepare for surgery.

Stones

Bladder, kidney, and gallbladder stones are all visible on X-rays. Vets can view the images and know where they are located and how large the stones are. This also helps them determine the type of removal process they’ll use.

Tumors

There are a few cases where X-rays can help vets spot certain types of tumors. Not all tumors show up well on X-rays, but they are very useful for things like bone tumors.

Does Pet Insurance Cover X-Rays?

X-rays are mostly used in conjunction with other tests and treatments. At the least, you will have to pay your veterinarian for their time and the diagnosis. However, some pet insurance companies will reimburse you for higher costs of X-rays, ultrasounds, and other types of imaging techniques.

The amount you get reimbursed for depends largely on the pet insurance company and your plan. If you suspect that you’ll need the cost of X-rays covered, then contact multiple insurance companies to find the best plan for your pet.

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Conclusion

It can send you into panic mode when your vet says they need to order an X-ray. Your dog being ill or injured is bad enough, and the thoughts of how much money you’ll be spending make it even worse. While some X-rays can be very expensive, others are a fair price. The cost of this procedure varies greatly, so if you’re worried about having to spend money on X-rays in the future, you might consider buying some pet insurance at a low monthly price to put your mind at ease.


Featured Image Credit: WiP-Studio, Shutterstock

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