Digital X-Rays for Pets – Vet Tech Series

Digital X-Ray Room at Animal Clinic of Morris Plains

Digital X-Ray Room at Animal Clinic of Morris Plains

X-Rays have long been a vital tool to help in the diagnosis of various injuries and conditions in animals. But the recent transition to digital x-rays has greatly increased their value as a diagnostic tool. Digital x-rays have quite a few advantages over their conventional counterparts, and their addition to your pet’s treatment can even lead to greater accuracy in diagnosis and improved outcomes overall.

To begin with, digital x-rays produce higher-quality images that allow vets to see results in greater detail. This makes it easier to pinpoint problem areas and identify injuries, signs of disease, or other abnormalities. That leads to faster diagnoses and more targeted treatments for pets. It also means that it’s easier for you to see and understand x-ray images when the vet is explaining a situation or diagnosis to you.

Another benefit of the digital format is that images can now be sent quickly online to specialists, owners, and other vets. For instance, if you’d like to take your pet for a second opinion, you can simply have their records, including x-ray images, sent over digitally. And your current vet can consult a specialist in the same way, quickly and efficiently. This greatly cuts down on the time required to consult a specialist, which is something vets have been routinely doing for a long time. That used to take days instead of hours because it involved the physical transportation of large and delicate physical x-ray images.

When it comes to the actual taking of images, digital x-rays come out ahead of the old film radiographs. This is because everything about taking them is so much faster than it was when x-rays had to be developed on film. With digital equipment, the image shows up almost immediately, so it’s easy to see if it’s a good shot or needs to be retaken.

Digital X-Ray of a Small Mammal

Digital X-Ray of a Small Mammal

There’s a lot that can be done to improve a digital image as well that wasn’t possible with film. Digital images can be manipulated (ie. enlarged, lightened, darkened, changed contrast). So, fewer retakes are required with digital equipment The only real problem a digital x-ray can’t solve is an error in positioning, but at least the digital machine shows results right away so that these types of mistakes can be quickly corrected.

All of these advantages mean less time under anesthesia for the patient, especially when the x-rays are being taken prior to a dental cleaning or other procedure that involves sedation. And the fact that digital x-rays require less energy to generate, combined with the reduced need for retakes, leads to a substantial overall reduction in the amount of overall radiation that the animal is exposed to.

In addition to all of the benefits for pets, owners, and veterinarians, digital x-rays also benefit the environment. Conventional x-rays are developed using a variety of chemicals, which then need to be disposed of. The digital process doesn’t require any of these chemicals, and so it doesn’t create hazardous waste that contributes to global pollution. Digital images can also be stored on the computer rather than in physical form, which conserves both resources and office storage space.