The last thing that you want as a cat owner is to worry about your pet’s health. Any manner of problems can crop up at some point in your cat’s life, and one of these might involve getting an X-ray.
Whether you’re thinking of the future or something has happened that requires an X-ray and you’re worried about the cost, here, we go over basic but important information about X-rays for cats.
How much an X-ray will cost depends on several factors: It can range from $75 to $350, depending on the situation. We get into what a few of these factors are and the variety of prices across the United States, so you have a better idea of what to expect.
The Importance of Your Cat’s Health
Your cat is a part of your family, and you obviously want to ensure that your pet is in tip-top shape so they will be with you for as long as possible. But part of taking care of a cat also means dealing with health issues that might require vet visits that could include getting an X-ray.
What are these scenarios where your cat might need an X-ray?
First, an X-ray is a diagnostic imaging technology that helps vets and technicians see inside an animal’s body.
Your vet will typically suggest an X-ray in order to get a proper diagnosis, and it’s sometimes the first step before surgery.
How Much Do X-rays Cost?
How much an X-ray—or radiograph, as it’s sometimes called—might cost depends on numerous factors, such as:
X-rays of your cat’s teeth or individual legs might range from $75 to $250; the abdomen, chest, or both together might be $250–$350; and the entire body might cost about $100–$350.
Many clinics are starting to use digital X-rays, which emit 80% less radiation than traditional ones and can be less costly because they don’t require the use of expensive film that also needs developing.
Bear in mind that these are averages, and you could end up paying more or less than what is listed here, depending on your cat’s condition, where you live, and your vet’s clinic.
Additional Costs to Anticipate
Besides the price of the X-rays, there can be additional costs that you might need to be prepared for. There’s the fee for the vet consultation, and your cat might also need to be sedated, which will be an extra charge of about $40–$90.
Additionally, if your vet needs to bring in a specialist for conducting and viewing the X-ray, this will cost extra. The specialist could be a veterinary dentist, orthopedist, or radiologist.
Another expense might be based on the number of X-rays taken. Vets sometimes need to look at more than one angle on an X-ray, and each additional one taken will be an extra charge. However, the second X-ray is usually a much smaller fee. For example, if the first X-ray is $135, the second might just be $35.
Other expenses that might occur would be based on your cat’s treatment, which will depend on the outcome of the X-ray.
How Can X-rays Help My Cat?
There are many ways that X-rays can prove quite beneficial for your cat. It can help the vet diagnose any issues that might be plaguing your cat. If your cat ate something that they shouldn’t have, your vet would be able to pinpoint its location to figure out the best way to remove it.
If you have a senior cat, an X-ray can check your cat’s bones to ensure that they are in good physical health. If your cat is pregnant, X-rays can give the vet information about the kittens and what stage of pregnancy your cat is in. Screening X-rays help the vet determine what kinds of health problems your cat might have.
There are more reasons than these, but overall, X-rays give vets the information that they need to provide your cat with the appropriate treatment.
Does Pet Insurance Cover X-rays?
Yes, but not usually completely. Most insurance companies will cover up to 90% of many vet fees, including diagnostic tools like X-rays. They also cover emergency or unexpected costs, but if your cat has a pre-existing condition before your coverage begins, any treatment for that condition isn’t usually covered.
The monthly cost to pay into your insurance plan could be $10 to $100 but typically averages $30 to $50. The more you pay per month, the better the coverage you have.
Just be aware that you’ll typically need to pay the clinic yourself, and then you will send the records and bill to the insurance company, which will later reimburse you.
Do your research, and don’t forget to read the fine print to find the right insurance company and plan for your cat. Your plan will also depend on your cat’s sex, size, age, and breed (and any pre-existing conditions).
How Often Does a Cat Need X-rays?
The answer depends on the cat and their health. Many cats might never need an X-ray, but others might have specific health conditions that will require more frequent X-rays. Also, depending on the health condition, it might be a one-time thing, or there might need to be several over a month or so until the condition is resolved.
An example could be when a cat has bladder stones; they might need X-rays every few weeks until the stones have dissolved. The vet will then want to follow up every 6 months or so to ensure that there aren’t any new ones developing.
A cat with a broken bone will need to be X-rayed every few weeks to ensure that the bone is healing correctly.
X-rays are not tremendously costly, but they might highlight a condition that might prove more expensive than the X-rays themselves.
Pet insurance can definitely be beneficial because it can help cover most of the costs of an annual vet visit, and if any emergency arises, it can make a huge difference to your bank account.
X-rays are important diagnostic tools that can help a vet determine the next steps in your cat’s treatment. But hopefully, you won’t need to worry about your cat needing an X-ray anytime soon.
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Featured Image Credit: Pressmaster, Shutterstock