Labeling radiographs is extremely important for several reasons. Tells you which leg you are looking at or which side of the abdomen you are looking at. This may seem like common sense to some of you but I have seen radiographs without labels several times. Labeling the images correctly will help prevent costly mistakes.

You may think that if you know what you’re looking at, why does it matter? But what if you are unable to fix the problem and have to refer to a specialist? Imagine looking at an x-ray and not knowing which way is up or down or left or right. There are some landmarks we can use to orientate ourselves but sometimes these are not always visible on an x-ray.

Correct labeling is key. Make sure you’re Left is labeled Left and vice versa. Again, this is common sense but I have seen this mistake and it has led to things like, surgery on the wrong leg or trying to find something on the wrong side of the abdomen. This is so easily avoided by labeling correctly and, with technology and clinics moving to digital, it’s easy to retake the image if not labeled or labeled incorrectly.

Before you take an x-ray make sure you have the following information:

Owner’s name
Pet’s name
Area to be radiographed
Correct label – L, R, DV, VD, Lat, etc.
Clinic name (especially important if you are sending them to another clinic)
With digital imaging, items like “clinic name” are already placed on each image and with some set-ups you can select what you are taking and it will also label these for you. This is usually selected before you can take your image. Ex. Canine VD Abdomen

By spending a little extra time to do these few steps you can help to avoid potential costly mistakes.