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Why does my pet need a general anaesthetic?

In most circumstances, we can achieve a good quality radiograph just with sedation. However, there are some parts of the body which can only be xrayed effectively under general anaesthetic. These are the skull/nose, the spine, and the hips. These parts require specific positioning and a degree of muscle relaxation which can only be achieved under general anaesthetic.
Also, in the case of a large and/or aggressive dog, it is much safer for all concerned if the patient is anaesthetised, rather than wrestle with a physically strong and uncooperative patient.
Of course, if there is a significant risk in anaesthetising a patient due to their clinical condition, an attempt will made to xray the patient without a general anaesthetic. It must be understood that this may result in a poor quality image, which may limit our ability to interpret it effectively and make a diagnosis.