Ultrasound is a non-invasive diagnostic tool that provides us with images of your pet’s internal structures.
Ultrasound is completely safe and painless. Our veterinarians can carry out ultrasonography, however some more complex cases may need to be performed by our mobile specialist veterinarian Dr Reuben Fliegner.
Differing from an x-ray, an ultrasound uses sound waves to generate a picture of the internal organs. Ultrasounds can “see” many things that an x-ray cannot, such as fluid accumulation, shapes and sizes of internal organs and internal structure of organs. For example an x-ray can diagnose an enlarged heart. However it is the ultrasound that can indicate if the walls of the heart are thick or thin and or if there is any narrowing of heart chambers. Ultrasound can readily give us this information which can be critical, as these scenarios represent different types of heart disease, with different prognoses and treatments. Ultrasound does not replace x-rays but rather is complimentary.
What happens to my pet during an ultrasound?
Usually your pet is admitted to the hospital for the day unless otherwise advised.
The hair over the area of intended scan will be shaved, as this interferes with the images. A water soluble gel will be applied to skin to enable the sound waves to generate a good picture. A transducer probe is then used to gently scan the area and therefore provide the internal image.
For this procedure most patients need to stay relatively still. Sometimes with light restraint most animals relax and do not require sedation or anaesthesia. However, it may be recommended that a sedation be given to ensure proper imaging and to decrease patient stress.
We usually require all patients undergoing an ultrasound to be fasted from food from 9pm the evening before the scheduled procedure. Water is fine. However your veterinarian or nurse will advise the specific instructions tailored to your individual pet’s needs.