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How is Veterinary X-Ray Used to Diagnose Your Pet?

Pet X-Rays are an incredibly useful tool that we utilise to help diagnose conditions that aren’t visible to us, including those affecting the chest, abdomen, and the musculoskeletal system, as well as dental conditions. Learn more about our X-Ray service below, including what to expect when your pet is admitted for a veterinary X-Ray.

What is a Veterinary X-Ray?

Radiography, typically called X-Ray, allows us to see inside your pet to assess their bones and soft tissues. It’s a relatively quick, painless, and non-invasive way to understand what may be going on inside. To take an X-ray, your pet is positioned on top of a special plate and a brief burst of X-Ray radiation is passed through your pet and onto the plate to make an image..

The radiation passes through soft tissue relatively easily compared to harder tissues, such as bone, which is why bones look white on X-Ray images and the air in the chest looks black. This allows us to check for internal issues in a non-invasive way during the diagnosis process.

Our X-Ray machine produces a 2D image of the area in question and is visible on our screen in a couple of seconds. In some cases, where X-Ray is not sufficient, we may need to look inside an organ using ultrasound, endoscopy, CT or MRI.

Dr Paul Adams – MRCVS

Lead vet Paul Adams holds the ESVPS Certificate in Veterinary Ophthalmology which means he has extensive further training and experience in this field.

dog in white

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When are Pet X-Rays Used?

We typically use veterinary X-Rays to diagnose (or rule out) diseases involving the:


Including heart and lung disease, congestive heart failure, bronchitis, cancer, and foreign bodies


Bloating, bladder stones, enlarged organs such as the liver and foreign bodies


Musculoskeletal System

E.g. arthritis, fractures, or deformities



We use separate specialist dental x-ray system for this

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How Does the Process Work?

Pets need to be still when taking X-Rays, and are usually sedated for the process. Sometimes, a general anaesthetic is required if performing certain studies, such as inflated chest X-Rays, however a local anaesthetic will often suffice. 

After sedation, your pet will be positioned on top of a special plate before we begin capturing the images. We usually take multiple X-Rays of the affected area from different angles in order to capture as much information as possible to aid in accurate diagnosis. 

Our systems use state of the art digital technology, meaning the images can be viewed, edited, and interpreted in seconds, and artificial intelligence may also be used to screen images for certain conditions, further improving diagnostic accuracy.

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Blue Dog X-Ray

What to Expect?

As part of the process, we ask that you withhold food from your pet from 10 pm the night before admission, particularly in cases relating to the abdomen. This ensures that images can be seen more clearly, and are not obscured.

During admission, we’ll go through the planned X-Ray procedure and any related tests to help you understand what’s happening, and resolve any worries you may have.

Your pet will stay with us for a few hours while we prepare them for the procedure, undertake the X-Ray, view and interpret the results, and through recovery. Your pet will usually be discharged the very same day and we’ll communicate their results and any next steps with you at the same time. 

Why Choose Knutsford Vets?

When you choose Knutsford Vets, you’re choosing state of the art digital imaging systems, advanced anaesthesia, and experienced veterinarians that are here for both you and your pet throughout their journey. Our dedicated team and advanced veterinary practices ensure the highest level of safety and accuracy, meaning we can diagnose and start treatment faster. 

Experience honest, tailored care with our friendly team at Knutsford Vets. 

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