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Orthopaedic Radiographs at VSH

A VSH FAQ: Why does my pet need to be sedated for x-rays?

There are a few reasons why many x-rays, especially diagnostic orthopaedic radiographs, require sedation in veterinary patients.

Orthopaedic Radiographs at VSH

1) Pain management. Most orthopaedic conditions are painful! Using sedation, also called chemical restraint, allows us to manipulate and position joints for x-rays without inducing additional discomfort to your pet.

2) Perfectly positioned, diagnostic images. In order to be able to assess even the smallest details on a radiograph, a pet needs to be perfectly still. Sometimes, the positioning for x-rays can be awkward. Sedation helps us to position your pet so that our x-rays have the best chance of giving us as much diagnostic information as possible.

3) Other means of evaluation. Under sedation, muscles are relaxed. That means that the usual "protective" mechanisms are altered, and we are allowed to assess your pet's joints completely. Maneuvers to assess knee or hip instability can be performed more easily, and less painfully, in sedated patients. We can also perform joint taps (sampling of fluid), needle aspirates, and other medical procedures under the same sedation.

4) Minimising staff or pet owner exposure to radiation. Chemical restraint allows us to position a pet using ties, cushions, and tape, rather than having a staff member "hold" during an x-rays. Due to the length of time our pets live, the risk of radiation exposure to your pet is negligible. Repeated exposure to staff, however, may be dangerous, and we minimise exposure at every chance.
At VSH, we sedate patients (even geriatric ones!) every day in order to be able to provide the best orthopaedic assessment possible. A board certified surgeon is trained and experienced in evaluation orthopaedic radiographs for every patient seen. If you have any questions about the safety of, or reason for, sedation, please ask a member of the VSH team.


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Hong Kong Island

VSH Hong Kong
G/F - 2/F
165-171 Wan Chai Road
Wan Chai, Hong Kong


EMERGENCY TEL: +852 2408 2588


VSH Kowloon
G/F - 1/F
7 Liberty Avenue
Ho Man Tin, Kowloon


EMERGENCY TEL: +852 2408 2588