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Beautiful on the Inside

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Ziggy the guinea pig was not doing well. He wasn’t eating, and we noticed a tinge of blood in his urine. After having him for 3.5 years, it was time to take the little guy to the vet. We packed him into a lunch-box-sized carrier and brought him to the closest practice that would see a guinea pig. The vet guessed that he had a small bladder stone, but wanted to take an X-ray to be sure. She took him into another room, and we could hear his guinea pig squeals of alarm and displeasure through the wall.  He does not like X-rays, this little guy. He did indeed have a kidney stone, which required guinea surgery, which he recovered well from. We still have this old man, who turns 5 this very month. He’s a very old guinea man.

The silver lining of his brush with guinea death a year and a half ago was getting a copy of his guinea X-ray. I think it’s beautiful and haunting. But then, I have a general fascination with X-rays, and I request copies of my own too. After I recently shared Ziggy’s X-ray on Twitter, I asked for submissions from other pet owners who have copies of their animal X-rays as well. I wound up with a nice collection to add to the guinea X-ray: a dog, a cat, and a ferret. Below are their X-rays followed by a picture of the pets from the outside.

A very special thank you to Matt Shipman, Julia Ellis, Meg Helmes, Chis Zhu, and Glendon Mellow for helping with this post!



Ziggy-Do Photo by Katie McKissick



Photo by Julia K. Ellis




Photo by Meg Helmes




Photo by Chris Zhu


Katie McKissick About the Author: Katie McKissick is a former high school biology teacher turned science writer and cartoonist based in Los Angeles, CA. Her first book is called What's in Your Genes. You can find more of work at Follow on Twitter @beatricebiology.

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.

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  1. 1. Don Quixote 5:53 pm 02/3/2014

    I love X-rays! What are the rings in Juju’s X-ray?

    Link to this

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