Dog X-Ray Cost

How Much Does a Dog Xray Cost?

Last Updated on February 19, 2024
Written by CPA Alec Pow | Content Reviewed by Certified CFA CFA Alexander Popinker

Determining the cost of a dog xray can be confusing with prices varying widely based on location, clinic, and other factors. This article provides a comprehensive overview of typical dog xray pricing, considerations in choosing a veterinary provider, what to expect during the xray procedure, and tips for controlling costs.

Read on to gain the knowledge needed to budget for this important pet diagnostic tool!

How Much Does a Dog Xray Cost?

On average, a dog xray can range in price from $80 to $300 per image depending on the type of xray and clinic performing it. Pricing is also impacted by your geographic region, with costs in major metro areas trending higher.

Some typical price ranges include:

  • Basic 2-view chest or abdomen xray: $100 to $250
  • Specialized imaging like dental x-rays: $125 to $300
  • Emergency or after-hours xrays: $150 to $400

Regional comparisons show higher average prices on the coasts:

  • Northeast US: $250 to $350 per xray
  • West Coast: $200 to $400 per xray
  • Midwest and Southern US: $100 to $300 per xray

According to MetLife Pet Insurance, on average, dog X-rays cost around $150 – $250, but they can range from $75 – $500. Prices vary depending on the emergency clinic or vet, as well as factors such as the size of the dog, the number of images needed, whether sedation is required, and the location of the X-ray site.

Pawlicy also writes that the typical cost of X-rays in dogs is about $150 to $250. The procedure itself is relatively inexpensive, minimally invasive, and painless for the pet, but it requires the animal to remain still for an extended period of time. Most dogs require some type of sedation for the X-ray to be done properly so the picture is clear.

Lemonade Insurance writes that the basic diagnostic x-rays usually cost between $75–$250, but can cost as much as $400 depending on the location of the injury/illness. A base Lemonade pet insurance policy can help cover the costs of a dog’s x-rays for eligible accidents and illnesses.

According to MarketWatch, vet X-rays cost $100 to $380 on average. Dog X-ray costs range from $126 to $300, while cat X-ray costs range from $100 to $267. The cost of the pet’s X-ray will vary depending on their size, the area being X-rayed, the injury’s severity, whether sedation is used, and the type of practice visited.

What are Dog X-Rays and Why Are They Needed?

A dog xray uses radiography technology to take images of a dog’s internal structures, bones, tissues, and organs. Reasons your veterinarian may recommend xrays for your dog include:

  • Diagnosing bone fractures, arthritis, or other orthopedic injuries
  • Identifying tumors, cancer, or masses
  • Checking for fluid buildup around the lungs or heart
  • Diagnosing digestive issues and obstructions
  • Visualizing pregnancy or reproductive health issues

Both digital xrays and traditional film xrays are used. Digital provides faster results with minimal radiation exposure compared to film.

Factors That Influence the Cost of Dog X-Rays

Several variables affect the total price charged by veterinarians for dog xrays. Being aware of these cost factors will help you plan your budget.

Type and Complexity of the Radiography Procedure

  • More advanced imaging, multiple views, special preparation, or sedation will increase costs. For example, a basic two-view chest xray on an easily handled dog may cost $100, while specialized joint imaging on an active dog needing anesthesia may be $300 or more.

Type of Veterinary Facility

  • Emergency veterinary hospitals and specialty clinics have higher fees for radiology services compared to general practices.

Location and Availability of Services

  • Urban areas and facilities open after hours can demand premium pricing due to higher operating costs and convenience factor. Rural areas may have lower charges.

Emergency vs Scheduled X-Ray

  • Unplanned emergency xrays typically cost more than a scheduled wellness checkup xray.

Additional Expenses

Beyond the xray procedure itself, you may need to pay additional fees including:

  • Sedation or anesthesia – For active, anxious, or injured dogs
  • Radiologist consultation – For analysis and interpretation of xrays
  • Records and CD fees – For copies of digital images
  • Follow-up recheck exams – If additional views or monitoring are needed

Getting an upfront estimate of total expected costs is wise when budgeting for your dog’s diagnostic imaging.

Does Pet Insurance Cover Dog X-Rays?

Many pet insurance plans cover diagnostic imaging like x-rays, but the level of reimbursement depends on your policy. Here are some key considerations:

  • Pre-existing conditions may be excluded – So enroll your dog when they’re young and healthy
  • Typically there is coinsurance of 70-90% – You pay a portion of the vet bill
  • Reimbursement basis may be benefit schedule or usual/customary fees – Check policy details
  • Claim procedures – Get receipts from your vet for filing

Having pet insurance can significantly offset the costs of radiology and other expensive veterinary care. Before purchasing, make sure xrays are covered and understand any limitations.

You might also like our articles about the cost of dog c-section, cytopoint injection, or entropion surgery.

The Right Veterinary Clinic for Your Dog’s X-Rays

Dog X-RaySelecting a quality vet you’re comfortable with is important for your dog’s xrays. Here are tips for choosing a good imaging provider:

  • Check for accreditation – AAHA or other recognized groups
  • Look for advanced diagnostic capabilities – Digital radiology, ultrasound, specialty training
  • Understand the veterinarian’s experience – Board-certified radiologist is optimal
  • Consider your dog’s needs – Special handling, sedation requirements
  • Compare pricing and payment plans – Estimates, financing options

Take the time to research vets thoroughly – don’t just default to the closest clinic. An experienced, caring veterinary team using proper procedures will get the best xray results for your dog.

Preparing for Your Dog’s X-Ray Procedure

Proper preparation helps ensure your dog’s xray goes smoothly:

  • Fast dog overnight – Withhold food 8-12 hours pre-xray
  • Hydrate with access to water – Avoid dehydration
  • Give any medications as directed – Important for accurate diagnosis
  • Arrive early and bring prior records – Allows proper setup and history review
  • Anticipate sedation needs – Follow vet’s recommendations

Understanding what to expect during the radiology procedure will help you support your anxious or excited pup!

What to Expect During Your Dog’s X-Ray Appointment

The veterinary team will take steps to get quality images and keep your dog safe:

  • Protective equipment – Staff don gowns; your dog wears a vest
  • Positioning – Techs gently position your dog, and may lightly restrain
  • Scan setup – Machine adjusted based on area imaged
  • Brief radiation pulses – Digital exposes your dog to minimal radiation
  • Multiple views – Different angles provide a complete picture
  • Treat rewards – Praise and treats keep dogs happy!

You may be asked to wait outside the room for safety. Share any questions or concerns before or after the procedure.

Caring for Your Dog After X-Rays

To finish the visit:

  • Discuss any immediate concerns with the vet if your dog seems uncomfortable
  • Ask about the next steps for reviewing and interpreting xray findings
  • Follow post-procedure instructions which may include rest, medication, or dietary changes
  • Watch for side effects like vomiting or diarrhea which could indicate a reaction to anesthesia or contrast media
  • Make a plan for follow-up such as scheduling consult to discuss the results

Your diligent at-home care helps ensure your furry friend feels their best after this important preventive care.

Your Dog’s X-Ray Results

Your veterinarian will review your dog’s xrays, analyzing:

  • Bones and joints – Fractures, arthritis, dysplasia
  • Organs – Size, shape, masses or fluid
  • Soft tissues – Tumors, obstructions
  • Body contours – Swallowing risks, pregnancy checks

Based on findings, the vet will discuss treatment plans, additional testing needed, or specialist referral. Don’t hesitate to clarify the results or your next steps.

Save on Your Dog’s X-Ray Expenses

Here are tips to control the cost of your dog’s xrays:

  • Enroll in pet insurance early to lock in maximum coverage
  • Use veterinary wellness plans for discounts on routine care like xrays
  • Ask about payment plans or financing such as CareCredit
  • Price shop without sacrificing quality – Get estimates from highly-rated vets
  • Time the procedure with wellness visits to save on prep fees
  • Clarify costs upfront – No surprises!

With prudent planning, pet parents can access this vital diagnostic care for their dogs while staying on budget.

Resources for Dog X-Ray Services and Pet Health

If you need help understanding dog xray pricing in your area or selecting the right veterinary provider, these resources can assist:

  • Local veterinary clinics and hospitals – Especially AAHA-accredited facilities with diagnostic imaging expertise
  • Veterinary radiology specialists for advanced diagnostics and second opinions
  • Leading pet insurer providers such as ASPCA, Nationwide, Embrace for coverage information
  • Professional associations like the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) and American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) for provider search tools and pet health information
  • Online pet health forums to read experiences from other pet parents
  • Veterinary care financing companies such as CareCredit for payment plan options
  • Pet health blogs and websites with pricing guides and clinic reviews

In summary, a standard dog xray can range from $80 to $400+ per image depending on your location, clinic, and the type of views required. Understanding typical costs in your area, insurance coverage, and your vet options will help you budget wisely for this essential diagnostic tool to keep your canine companion healthy.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why would a vet do an xray on a dog?

There are many reasons a veterinarian may recommend an xray for a dog, including:

  • To diagnose the cause of limping, pain or limited mobility that could indicate a bone fracture, arthritis or other orthopedic injury
  • To examine the abdominal area for foreign objects, tumors, organ enlargement or other issues that could cause vomiting, diarrhea, appetite changes or weight loss
  • A chest x-ray to check the chest for fluid buildup, masses or other problems that could result in coughing, difficulty breathing or exercise intolerance
  • To visualize pregnancy, especially complication risk in late gestation
  • To fully evaluate a dog’s health prior to anesthesia or surgery
  • To follow up on known conditions and monitor treatment efficacy

Having a baseline xray provides an important diagnostic benchmark and enables early detection of disease processes.

Is an xray or ultrasound better for dogs?

Xrays and ultrasounds offer different diagnostic strengths in dogs:

  • Xrays provide clear images of bone, organ size and shape, masses, foreign objects, and fluid accumulations. They excel at imaging the abdomen, chest, joints, and skeletal structures.
  • Ultrasound uses sound waves to visualize soft tissues, organ structure, blood flow, and fetus development, and guide needle biopsies. Ultrasound has limitations in assessing bone, lung, and gas-filled tissues.

The modalities are often used together to provide a comprehensive picture of a dog’s internal health. Ultrasound has the advantage of no radiation risk. Your vet will recommend the best test based on your dog’s symptoms and areas of concern.

What is the risk of xray for dogs?

Modern veterinary xrays involve very low levels of radiation, so risks are minimal when proper safety protocols are followed including:

  • Shielding vulnerable areas like the thyroid
  • Using lead aprons and gloves
  • Optimizing exposure settings

For an otherwise healthy dog, a couple of xrays are considered very low risk, roughly equivalent to taking a short plane flight. Risk increases with repetitive xrays over a short time or radiation therapy. Pregnant dogs should only get xrays under urgent need.

Discuss any concerns with your vet and ask about safety practices to put your mind at ease about any minimal radiation exposure from needed diagnostic xrays. The knowledge gained far outweighs the small risks involved.

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