x-rays are an effective tool in diagnosing various conditions.
- They allow a vet to see a foreign object in the stomach or abdomen and pinpoint the cause of an intestinal obstruction.
- They allow a vet to see bladder stones.
- The shapes and outlines of organs can give clues to the causes of problems.
- X-rays can discover tumours in the chest or abdomen.
- They can show pregnancy (once the mother dog is six weeks pregnant) and even allow a vet to estimate the number of puppies.
- Chest x-rays are very helpful to check for signs of cancer spreading to the lungs or other organs.
- They may help diagnose suspected heart or lung disease.
- They are also a must for pets suffering injuries from major trauma such as being hit by a car to rule out hidden rib fractures or the presence of air in the chest cavity.
- X-rays also help diagnose many orthopedic issues in animals: Fractures and bone deformations are usually easy to see.
- X-rays reveal hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia and many other orthopedic disorders, some of which are inherited.
Chest and abdominal x-rays can often be done without sedation. Using barium can make the inner portion of the esophagus and stomach easier to see. Once the dog ingests the barium “milkshake,” it moves through the intestinal tract, where it coats the surfaces making them appear white and easier to detect on a series of x-rays. Tumors, ulcers, and polyps may become visible. Barium also helps determine if there are motility problems.