Many older pets are often affected by conditions of the spine, and these conditions can often be shown on a series of X-rays. We mostly use X-rays in the diagnosis of abnormalities of the bones and joints, such as fractures and arthritis.
X-rays are also used for viewing the shape of internal organs. X-rays of the chest can show heart abnormalities and fluid or growths in the lungs. In the abdomen, internal masses, bowel obstructions and enlarged organs can be seen.
Specialised types of X-rays include myelograms, where a special radio-opaque dye is injected into the spinal canal, and pneumocystograms, where air and a contrast medium are injected into the bladder. These organs are then highlighted on the X-ray for a more accurate view.
In veterinary medicine, pets are usually heavily sedated or anaesthetised when taking an X-ray. This is because the animal must be correctly positioned and must lie absolutely still while the X-ray is being taken. As you can imagine, it can be rather difficult to persuade a cat to keep 100% still!
We are not allowed to hold the animal manually to keep it from moving because this exposes staff to radiation which can cause health problems. However, please rest assured that the risk to your pet from X-rays is extremely low.
Our 24-hour centres are now equipped with digital X-rays. These use digital sensors rather than traditional film. X-rays produced digitally are quicker to process and can be adjusted to give us a more thorough look at the image.