The cat X-ray is a widely used exam but when to use it? How is it done? Let’s see it together.
Radiography, also called radiological examination, is a medical examination that takes advantage of the properties of a particular type of ionizing radiation, X-rays, to impress a film (plate) thus obtaining images of the body that can concern both the bones and some organs.
To be able to understand what an X-ray looks like, it is enough to know how the bones and the rest of the organs look, impressed on the plate in negative. It is therefore possible to distinguish the parts of the body that are denser and more consistent, such as bones, light in color, while soft tissues appear gray, and organs that are crossed by X-rays almost totally, such as the lungs, appear dark.
The X-rays used, even if the radiation dose for an X-ray is very low, still have an effect on biological tissues, which is why it is good to undergo radiological examination only in cases where there is no other way to establish the cause of the disorder through other diagnostic tests. In this article we will deal in particular with the X-ray of the cat, how much this examination is necessary, how to carry it out and whether it involves the use of anesthesia to the animal.
The X-ray to the cat: when
Veterinary radiology, in recent years, has reached a remarkable level both from the point of view of image quality and the safety of our four-legged friends. The subsequent birth of digital radiography then allowed to generate images of better quality obtaining more numerous and detailed information from a minimum number of shots.
Although it has therefore become a safer tool, in any case the cat X-ray can only be prescribed by the veterinarian and in certain cases, that is, to diagnose different diseases, such as:
- trauma and injuries in the cat;
- any inflammatory (arthritis in the cat) or degenerative (arthrosis) changes;
- to examine any bronchopneumonia, pleurisy;
- lung lesions;
- lesions in the chest;
- to examine the presence of any calculations;
- perforations, inflammatory states, alterations in the intestinal canalization, in the abdomen;
- to detect problems in the cat’s mouth.
The X-ray of the cat can also be performed during the pregnancy of the feline but only if there is a precise and justified reason and only after evaluating the dose that reaches the embryo or fetus.
How to make the X-ray to the cat
In order to take an X-ray of the cat, it is necessary that the radiologist knows the exact reason for the examination to optimize the investigation protocol. The doctor will then observe all the clinical-diagnostic documentation of the animal (medical records, instrumental examinations, results of specialist visits).
In practice, in order to take an X-ray of the cat, you need the support of someone such as an assistant or the owner himself who brings the animal to the rays room and after wearing the lead protections, keep the cat stationary while the machine is running.
Being the X-ray, a photograph, trying to keep the animal motionless is very important to have clear and legible images; even a slight tremor or wheezing can greatly decrease the quality of the examination. Where we were wondering if the cat’s x-rays are radioactive, the answer is no.
In radiology there are no radioactive sources (as in nuclear medicine) and after examination the animal can come into contact without problems with all members of the family including children. And even with regard to the cat’s microchip, it does not produce any kind of problem or interference.
Is anesthesia necessary to take an X-ray of the cat?
The cat X-ray is a non-invasive examination for which there is generally absolutely no need for anesthesia, except in some cases where a frightened or sore animal may require a little sedation, to be able to position it properly and to have the patient immobile. For these reasons, the cat’s preventive fasting and a check-up aimed at assessing the anesthesiological risk are indicated.
Types of X-rays
The main x-rays that are most in demand for the cat are the following:
- abdominal x-ray is extremely useful for individual cancers, neoplasms and foreign bodies in the cat’s stomach, intestines, bladder and renal system;
- x-rays of the musculoskeletal system, in particular, allow to diagnose bone tumors, dysplasias, fractures and orthopedic problems;
- chest x-rays, valuable for assessing respiratory diseases, tumors and problems of the esophagus.
In veterinary medicine there are two types of x-rays, official and unofficial. The term “official” is used to distinguish radiographic examinations carried out on purebred animals according to standardized procedures.
These RXs are useful to evaluate any abnormalities of the skeleton on a hereditary basis and are intended to direct reproduction and make sure to select only healthy individuals free from the pathology studied.