Human beings do not need to go under anesthesia to take an X-ray. So, when the veterinarian tells a pet owner that they will need to sedate their best friend for its exam, they may wonder, “Why would pets need anesthesia for X-rays?” From the pet’s comfort to the safety of the staff, there are several reasons why veterinarians would make this decision.
The Pet Is Anxious
Veterinarians and pet owners are both familiar with how animals may respond to being in a veterinary office or clinic. New sounds, new smells, new people, new animals—all the stimulation can quickly raise a pet’s anxiety. When you add the handling and positioning required to prepare an animal for an X-ray exam, a pet is completely unable to sit still.
When an animal is under too much distress to participate with a digital X-ray machine, it is best to give it anesthesia or a sedative so that the veterinarian can quietly and easily complete their work. This will benefit the safety of the animal and the staff.
The Pet Is in Pain
To achieve the most accurate diagnoses, veterinarians must put animals in specific positions on the X-ray table. Moving and holding a pet to get it in the right spot is extremely uncomfortable, especially if it has a broken bone, a common sight in veterinary hospitals and clinics. To limit its pain and get a more focused X-ray picture, veterinarians may employ anesthesia.
To Limit Exposure to Radiation
When working with X-ray technology, remember that radiographs create ionizing radiation. That radiation presents a hazard to the support staff responsible for positioning the pet. One of the most important reasons why pets would need anesthesia for X-rays is it quickens the process and limits the time the staff spends with radioactive technology.
Of course, the amount of anesthesia used on a pet will vary based on its condition and age. But veterinarians compelled by an animal’s anxiety and pain, as well as the safety of their staff, will use anesthesia when the time calls for it.