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When Your Dog Needs an X-Ray: How to Make the Difficult Decision

When your beloved dog gets sick or something doesn’t quite seem right and you don’t know what is wrong, your first instinct will be to visit your veterinarian. Often, what we would like to be an easy fix isn’t so easy and your vet will want to give your dog an x-ray to get a better view of what is wrong.

Despite your love and willingness to do anything for your furry best friend, the unfortunate side is that a dog x-ray costs money, in many cases more money that you may have or are willing to spend. But by knowing all the details involved in getting an x-ray for your dog, hopefully, we can help you make the best, affordable decision, all while taking your dog’s best interests to heart.

Are They Always Necessary?

If your veterinarian is worth his salt, he will discuss with you all the options before jumping straight to giving your dog an x-ray. In some cases, an ultrasound is a cheaper option and may still offer some valuable insight for your pet’s doctor to help him see what is wrong.

According to herepup.com, there are a couple of other options that you may want to consider, such as a Cat Scan, also known as a CT Scan or even an MRI. A CT scan takes rapid series of x-ray images while an MRI uses radio waves as well as a magnetic field in lieu of an x-ray.

After you have discussed your dog’s symptoms at length with the vet, he may only advise you to make some small changes. One change might be to give your dog a special food or he may even prescribe some medication, with a follow-up visit.

Although there may be other options, keep in mind that sometimes these changes aren’t enough and your dog won’t show any signs of improvement. It may be inevitable that your cherished pet will still have to undergo an x-ray down the road.  

How Much Do Dog X-Rays Cost?

The cost of an x-ray for your dog depends on a variety of factors. The first will be largely dependent on whether or not you have pet coverage. Typically, pet coverage or insurance is set up when your dog is a puppy or in his early stages of life.

Another factor that will affect the cost of an x-ray is whether or not the veterinarian believes your dog will need more than one. As many dogs will need to be sedated, depending on the size of your dog, the cost of anesthetic can raise the price considerably as a large dog would require a heavier dose compared to a small dog.

Where you and your dog reside will also affect your dog’s x-ray cost, as living in a large city may raise the overall price. A general x-ray that can typically be done at the vet’s office is less expensive than when your furry friend needs a more precise scan at an emergency pet hospital.

According to pethelpful.com, overall, not including the cost of the visit to your vet or the price of anesthetizing your dog, you can expect to spend anywhere between $40.00 to $125.00. However, according to herepup.com, the range runs from $80.00 to $200.00.

Finding Cheap X-Rays for Dogs

In order to find the cheapest x-ray price for your dog, you may have to do a little digging, (sorry couldn’t help it) that is, research. Even if you have a regular vet that you take your dog to, he may not be the ultimate person you trust or even can afford to conduct an x-ray on your dog.

Just as though you would get a second opinion with regards to your own health, you should place the same standards on your dog’s health. As it costs money for each visit you make, try calling around to the different practices in your area and see if they will give you a quote for your dog over the phone.

You certainly don’t want to cheap out on your dog but you are not required to spend your life savings either. It’s an unfortunate reality that your dog will inevitably become sick when your purse strings are at their tightest.

When my dog developed bladder stones, it couldn’t have been a worse time. I was on maternity leave and was on a strict budget. When my veterinarian told me the cost of an x-ray and that surgery was a possibility, my heart dropped.

I was fortunate that medication was the better option and he suggested an ultrasound instead of an x-ray, which was cheaper in the end. But you can be certain I made sure to do my research before I made my final decision.

Sedation or Anesthetic

Your dog will only need to be sedated if the veterinarian needs to ensure that your dog is completely still to get the best view possible. If this is the case, such as with oral issues or broken bones, you can expect to add this cost to your bill.

Seeing your pet sedated can be hard to watch, but keep in mind that seeing your beloved dog in pain can be even harder. Trust your veterinarian in that he knows when it is necessary to anesthetize your pet and when it isn’t.

Is it Worth Getting an X-Ray?

There are a lot of conditions that an x-ray can uncover. They can include but are not limited to, tumors, bladder stones, cancer, fractures, disease, and a suspected pregnancy. If not for the use of this valuable tool to pinpoint the condition, it becomes more of a guessing game for the veterinarian.

Although I was fortunate with my dog to not have to get a full x-ray, having the doctor still be able to get a peek inside at what was bugging my girl helped give me peace of mind. If my vet had told me that we would have needed to do more, I wouldn’t have hesitated.

If you are still feeling hesitant, the video below is a veterinarian discussing a case of some owners who brought their dog in because he had a limp in his right rear leg. After the vet’s initial examination, he still couldn’t deduce what was wrong, therefore an x-ray was deemed necessary.

The dog was sedated and he was able to get a better view of the problem by using an x-ray; the poor dog had been shot. In this situation, there is no doubt that without an x-ray the dog may not have received a proper diagnosis and the leg may have otherwise gotten worse or infected without proper, localized treatment.

A Dog’s Best Friend

Our job as pet owners is to make sure that we provide all the necessary care for our beloved animals. Just as a dog is a “man’s best friend” so too should we reciprocate this relationship and make sure that we treat our best friend throughout all his times in need.

Before You Commit to An X-Ray

Having to bring your dog in for a non-regular visit to your veterinarian can leave you feeling frazzled and unprepared. Remember to consider the following before you commit to an x-ray for your dog.

  • Ask your veterinarian if an x-ray is necessary and the only option
  • Discuss the cost of an x-ray
  • Call around to other clinics to find the cheapest x-ray for your dog
  • Discuss the need for sedation
  • If your vet has exhausted all options, give your dog his best chance at getting better and get an x-ray

An x-ray for your dog doesn’t have to be a scary or overwhelming experience, by being prepared, putting your dog’s best interests at heart, your dog will reward you with lots of wet, dog kisses. Do you have a dog story to share? Follow us on Facebook and let us hear your story.


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