Radiology (x-rays) is routinely used in large animal medicine to provide valuable information about an animal’s bones and joints. It can be used alone or in conjunction with other diagnostic tools to provide a list of possible causes for an animal’s condition, identify the exact cause of a problem, or rule out possible problems.
When an animal is being radiographed, an x-ray beam passes through its body and hits a piece of radiographic film. Images on the film appear as various shades of gray and reflect the anatomy of the animal. Bones, which absorb more x-rays, appear as light gray structures. Soft tissues absorb fewer x-rays and appear as dark gray structures. Interpretation of radiographs requires great skill on the part of the veterinarian.