X-rays are very important diagnostic tools in both the medical and veterinary professions. It helps veterinarians determine whether a dog has fracture, stones, cancer, or a foreign object in its body. X-rays can also help in the determination of a dog’s pregnancy status as well as follow-up on the progress of a surgical procedure. The question that pet parents often ask is how much a dog x-ray will cost them.
Average Cost of X-rays for Dogs
No two veterinary clinics will have the same price for an x-ray for dogs. Not only that; no two dogs will have the same cost of x-ray for the same condition. In general, there are veterinary clinics that can offer canine x-ray services for as low as $80. Others may charge up to $400.
Factors that Can Affect the Cost of Canine X-rays
The dog x-ray cost we quoted above does not reflect the prevailing costs in the real world. This is because there are different factors that can affect the final cost of the procedure. Any of these factors or a combination thereof can increase the cost.
- Number of X-rays that the Condition Requires
A single X-ray will cost less than multiple x-rays. One has to understand that there are conditions that will require several radiographic tests. For example, multiple traumatic injuries require radiographic testing from different angles. Hence, if a single test will cost you $80, then having 5 of the same test can set you back by $400.
- Body Part that Requires X-ray Imaging
There are certain parts of a dog’s body that are more difficult to x-ray than others. For example, performing a radiographic test on a dog’s limbs or paws is easy as it does not require any sedation. However, if you are going to x-ray the animal’s tail or head, vets may have to employ some form of restraint. Dogs are not very keen on having someone else touch their head and tail. Stabilizing these on the radiographic table will mean additional cost.
- Medications or Compounds Needed for the Imaging
There are radiographic tests that call for the administration of contrast agents like barium. Veterinarians use this to visualize the contours of the gastrointestinal tract. It is helpful in determining the presence of a foreign body in the animal’s intestines. This helps veterinarians decide on the best possible approach for removing the foreign material. Using barium in the visualization of the digestive tract means additional expense on top of the cost of dog x-ray.
- X-ray Setting
In general, veterinary clinics provide x-ray services at a much lower cost compared to those in veterinary hospitals or large animal clinics. One has to understand the economics of running a large organization compared to a private practice. Large organizations have to contend with a lot of expenditures, including capital investment and manpower remuneration. These are often factored into the computation of the veterinary services that they provide.
- Need for Sedation
Depending on the severity of the dog’s condition, a veterinarian may recommend sedating the animal. For instance, a dog in severe pain coming from a fractured limb will often require sedation prior to undergoing a radiographic test. It is difficult to keep a dog still on the examination table if it is in a lot of pain.
The same is true in the examination of anxious or hyper-excitable dogs. It is important for the animal not to move during the test to guarantee clearer and more accurate x-ray images. This is almost impossible if the pet is very anxious. Sedation can help. Unfortunately, this can also increase the cost of the radiographic test. The additional cost will depend on the type and amount of sedative used. It can be as low as $50 or as high as $200.
- Geographic Location
Like everything else, the cost of veterinary services depends on the geographic location of the service provider. Cities with high median incomes often command higher prices than communities with low to moderate median incomes. Hence, if your dog is getting an x-ray in New York City, then you can always expect the cost to be higher than a similar x-ray in Dayton, Ohio.
- Professional Differences
Different veterinarians can also charge for dog-x-ray services differently. This is despite the fact that they may be in the same city or community or in the same building. A veterinarian may charge $100 for a radiographic test. Another may charge $150 for the same test. It is difficult to ascertain why some veterinarians charge higher for the same test. However, most people believe it has something to do with a vet’s credentials. More established veterinarians can command higher prices for their services than beginning veterinarians.
How to Lower the Cost of Dog X-Rays
Radiographic tests for dogs are not cheap. Pet parents who wish to fit their dog x-rays into their budget can consider getting a pet health insurance. There are insurance providers that can provide coverage for diagnostic tests like x-rays. The only problem here is that insurers have a mandatory holding period before the policy takes into full effect. As such, it is often wise to get a pet health insurance at the soonest possible time.
Another option will be to search for veterinary teaching hospitals. There are veterinary schools that have strong programs. Many have teaching hospitals and clinics where veterinary students can apply the theories they learned in the classroom. The cost of x-rays and other veterinary services provided in these settings are more affordable.
If there are no veterinary teaching schools in your area, it will not hurt to ask your veterinarian for a discount. Vets are people, too. Most will understand that some people may experience financial difficulties at some point in their lives. If not a discount, they can offer you to pay for the dog x-ray on a staggered basis.
Cost should never be a major factor in caring for dogs or any other pet for that matter. While x-rays are not cheap, they can help in the determination of a health problem in your pet. This lays the foundation for the more effective treatment of the dog.