How Much Does a Dog Xray Cost?

Written by: Staff

A dog x-ray can be used to check for fractures, stomach obstructions, tumors, the degree of a bone break or check a pregnancy stage.  In addition, a dog x-ray could determine the number of pups a pregnant dog is going to have.

In general, a dog x-ray is best at looking at major abnormalities and changes in the shape, size and contents of the organs.

Frog x-ray by TenSafeFrogs, on Flickr
Frog x-ray” (CC BY 2.0) by  TenSafeFrogs

How much does it cost for a dog x-ray?

The cost of a dog x-ray will depend on the size of the dog, the area being x-rayed, the number of x-rays needed, the vet, if sedation is needed and the geographical location.  The price of a dog x-ray, on its own, could be as high as $400 if the dog needs a mild sedative for the procedure.  However, because of the different factors and scenarios, you should plan on spending anywhere from $80 to as much as $350 for a complete series of dog x-rays.

On Dog Forum, a few members had talked about what they paid for dog x-rays.  The person who asked said they were quoted $375 for the x-rays, which included the sedation, whereas another member said they had paid close to $500.

Dog x-ray overview

Depending on the area being examined, an x-ray can diagnose a variety of conditions.  An abdominal x-ray, for example, may allow a vet to see a foreign object within the stomach or see the cause of an intestinal obstruction.  It can also confirm bladder stones if they were present.  Within the chest, a vet can check for signs of cancer, heart disease and/or even lung disease.  It can also rule out fractures if your dog recently suffered from some sort of major trauma such as a car accident.  Aside from the abdominal and chest cavities, an x-ray can also diagnose orthopedic issues such as hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia and other orthopedic disorders that can be inherited.  Oftentimes, before a puppy is available to the public, a breeder will get x-ray imaging results in order to have their dog certified by OFA.

What are the extra costs?

If it’s considered an emergency appointment, then you could as much as 50 percent more than if you were to take your dog to a local vet by an appointment.

In some circumstances, if the dog needs to be sedated and/or anesthesia may be required for the x-ray, this can be an additional charge to consider.  The sedation may be due to the dog’s nerves or may be due to the position the dog must be in for the x-ray.  The dog may also need to be sedated because it is uncooperative.  On average, and depending on the size of the dog, you will probably have to pay an additional $75 and $150, in addition to the x-ray and exam fees.  Keep in mind most dogs won’t require sedation.

If the vet requires a barium x-ray, the costs could increase.  A barium x-ray is when the dog must drink a specialized formula which shows up on the x-ray as it passes through the body.  This is done to help make the inner portion of the esophagus and stomach easier to see when being examined.  Tumors, polyps and ulcers may become visible as well.

Some vets will want to take blood work along with the x-ray.  If this is the case, blood work can vary anywhere from $50 to $100.

Depending on the billing policy, the office examination fee may be tied into the quote or billed separately.  Most vet visit fees, regardless of what testing is done, can cost about $45 to $65, depending on your geographical location.

In some rare cases, if the vet deems the x-ray doesn’t produce the results they want, he or she may recommend a CT, MRI and/or ultrasound to further inspect the issue.  An ultrasound, for instance, will be able to detect abdominal diseases, including some ailments an x-ray can’t detect, while a CT scan, also referred to as a cat scan, will take rapid x-ray images, presenting a “sliced” cross section of the targeted body part.  Lastly, an MRI will use radio waves and a magentic field to generate images and is ideal to pick up any changes within the tissue.

Tips to Know:

An x-ray isn’t always effective at catching everything.  For example, some tumors may not be noticeable due to the colors blending in with other tissue.  The same can be said about an object the dog swallowed.

How can I save money?

Get multiple quotes.  Even if you’re loyal to your vet, it doesn’t hurt to call a few local vets to see what they may charge for a specific procedure.  As long as you have the details of the situation, most offices will be happy to offer a ballpark over the phone.

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Average Reported Cost: $125

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Less Expensive $1 $1.5K $3K $5K $6.5K More Expensive $8k

How much did you spend?

Was it worth it?  

  1. Julian (Ogden,  Utah) paid $130 and said:

    Left front leg x ray

    Was it worth it? Yes

  2. Tiger (West Hollywood,  California) paid $125 and said:

    2 xrays of my mini schnauzer’s stomach at $125/each. ugh!

    Was it worth it? Yes

  3. Donna Neal (Fremont,  California) paid $120 and said:

    X-ray boy legs and hips of my Chihuahua

    Was it worth it? Yes

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