X-rays are crucial when your pet falls and injures itself, ingests something it should not, or has an unusual problem. The vet performs an X-ray to identify the problem. They help vets diagnose what is happening with their patients. Otherwise, treatment in situations needing X-rays would be like walking through a forest with a blindfold.
Here are some facts about X-rays that may help you understand them better.
What Are X-rays?
They are everyday, beneficial medical procedures that help vets with diagnosis. They paint a clear picture, allowing for targeted treatment. Due to their ability to penetrate internal structures and tissues, X-rays help assess the patient’s body.
They reveal more information on injury to bones or organs. They can also show foreign objects and their position in the body so the vet can remove them. They mitigate complications, allowing treatment to go smoothly.
X-ray machines include three distinct components: the X-ray tube, the high-frequency generator, and the operating console. The X-ray tube has internal and external parts, with the inside X-ray tube containing a vacuum.
The high-frequency generator powers the X-ray tube while the console allows the technician to control it. It allows for the control of line compensation. The technician can adjust the tube’s current and voltage so the X-ray beam has quality and quantity.
What Does the Process Involve?
The technician will place an X-ray cassette beneath your pet—but with digital imaging, there is no need for a cassette with film. There are specific image storage formats and systems. As the machine produces X-ray photons, the cassette with a film catches those that pass through it. The areas that absorb X-ray photons will be white, while those that allow photons to pass through turn black.
For example, in a pet’s leg, the bones may have total absorption of photons. Ligaments and muscles may be partial in varying amounts. Areas with air or fluid may not absorb much. The resulting X-ray image will appear black in the bone area and dark grey in the muscles and ligaments. The areas with air and fluid may have lighter shades of grey or white.
Why Do They Need to Restrain Your Pet?
It is always advisable for the vet to sedate your pet during the procedure. It reduces anxiety and stress, allowing for good diagnostic images. Sedation also helps control pain from manipulation during the process. Sometimes, there may be some circumstances that require the animal to be awake during an X-ray.
In these times, allow a person in appropriate protective clothing to handle your pet. Otherwise, you may need to put on the protective clothing yourself.
Be careful during X-ray sessions because of the possibility of radiation. X-ray machines are sources of radiation that can cause injuries. Exposure factors in modern machines lower the radiation. However, you should wear lead-impregnated gloves and aprons when handling your pet. Lead decreases your exposure to radiation as it absorbs most if not all of it.
For more information on X-rays for pets, visit Madison Animal Care Hospital at our Madison, Alabama office. Call 256-461-7575 to schedule an appointment today. For emergencies, call (256) 715-8389.