This study documents the degree of positional atelectasis in sedated dogs receiving 100% oxygen (O(2)) versus room air. Initial lateral recumbency was determined by an orthopedic study and initial treatment (O(2) or room air) was randomized. Each dog was maintained in lateral recumbency for 15 min, at which time ventrodorsal (VD) and opposite lateral thoracic radiographs were obtained. Each dog was then maintained in the opposite lateral recumbency and received the other treatment for 15 min, followed by a VD and opposite lateral radiograph. Radiographs were scored for severity of pulmonary pattern and mediastinal shift by 3 radiologists. Dogs breathing O(2) had significantly higher scores than dogs breathing room air. If radiographically detectable dependent atelectasis is present, repeat thoracic images following manual positive ventilation and/or position change to the opposite lateral recumbency should be made to rule out the effect of O(2) positional atelectasis and avoid misdiagnosis.