How Much Do Today’s Veterinary Digital Radiography Systems Cost?

How much do today’s Veterinary Digital Radiography systems cost? Somewhere between $25K and $50K.  The higher end of that range represents systems from the biggest veterinary companies that sell panels from the most reputable manufactures. The lower end of that price range represents older technology (e.g. CCD systems) or flat panel systems from second-tier manufacturers.

Veterinary Digital Radiography Systems Cost

But that is still a large range. So let’s re-focus the question where it should be.

What are the top 2 things about a veterinary digital radiography system that add cost to the system?

  • X-ray Scintillator Material
  • Panel Manufacturer

For the sake of this article, we are going to assume that you have narrowed your DR search down to the state-of-the-art indirectDR panels that use a combination of scintillator and TFT array to produce its images. This filters out all the CCD, CR, and direct DR configurations, since they have gradually fallen out of favor in today’s veterinary DR marketplace

veterinary technology comparisons

For more information on the differences between these types of DR technology, read the DR Comparison article here.

X-Ray Scintillators: What are the differences in cost and quality of Cesium vs Gadox panels in digital radiography?

Cesium panels require slightly lower dose for the same image quality and cost about $5,000 more than those that use GadOx. In the human world (especially pediatrics) this is important, but much less-so in veterinary medicine where our patients don’t live long enough to experience radiation-induced pathologies.

The primary benefit of Cesium is high sensitivity to the x-ray signal, allowing lower exposure factors to produce an image. This is why Cesium is heavily used in human radiology (especially pediatrics), where the principal concern is to minimize the radiation dose delivered to the patient.

The sacrifice to this high sensitivity is an increase susceptibility to noise. With less dose (lower number of x-rays) comes higher uncertainty of the recorded signal (therefore higher noise, lower signal-to-noise ratio, SNR).

With Gadox, the sensitivity is slightly decreased (less than 10%), but with the additional radiation dose to get the same signal, there is less noise in the signal, resulting in a slightly higher signal-to-noise ratio.

gads vs cesium

For a more in-depth look the differences between Cesium and Gadox scintillators in digital radiography panels, read the full article here.

Panel Manufacturers: Who are the most reputable digital radiography flat panel manufacturers?

You get what you pay for. Most of this cost comes in the reliability of the panels, both in their ability to consistently produce quality images as well as in their longevity in the clinic. The most reputable panel manufacturers in the world (both human and veterinary) are:

  • Varex
  • Canon
  • Samsung
  • Toshiba
  • Fuji
  • GE
  • Siemens
  • Philips

Gadox is typically mixed in powder form with a liquid epoxy to a uniform concentration and “poured” into thin sheets where it hardens to form a layer with precise thickness. This is a relatively easy process that has simpler quality controls and lower variation from batch-to-batch and manufacturer-to-manufacturer.

Cesium on the other hand is “sprayed” onto a substrate at a given concentration, then “baked” in an oven causing crystals to form and grow upwards and in parallel. The issue is that the quality of the end-product depends greatly on the precision of the “growing” process. Only the manufacturers with years of experience growing Cesium have developed a consistency and quality you need.


To over-simplify: for ~$25K you can buy a DR system from a company that just recently started working with a second-tier panel manufacturer, with re-purposed human software, image processing software that requires tuning for each image, and offers inexpensive extended service. Good luck.

Or you can invest $50K for a DR system from a company that has decades-long relationships with industry-leading panel manufacturers using robust, hands-free image processing in an intuitive software platform designed specifically for veterinary applications, equipped with extended service packages that will put you at ease for years to come.

For a more in-depth look at how much veterinary digital radiography systems cost, read the full article here.