Pet Care: Ultrasound Examinations Explained

An ultrasound examination is an imaging technique that allows your vet to assess the health of your pet's internal organs and tissues. It's a non-invasive procedure that is considered safer than an X-ray, as no radiation is used. There are several uses for ultrasounds, including diagnosing a wide range of conditions, confirming a pregnancy and monitoring the healing process of certain injuries. Read on to learn more about pet ultrasounds.

How An Ultrasound Works

To carry out an ultrasound, your vet will use a handheld transducer, which is linked to a screen and computer. The transducer is passed across the area of the body being investigated and transmits sound waves to the organs and tissues in that area. When these sound waves make contact with your pet's internal body structures, they reflect back to the transducer as echoes. These echoes are then converted into a 2-dimentional image that is recorded on the nearby screen. This allows your vet to assess the condition of organs and soft tissues. Ultrasound results are available immediately, and ultrasounds are relatively affordable when compared to other diagnostic imaging procedures.

Preparing Your Pet For An Ultrasound

Your pet will not require an anaesthetic before their ultrasound examination, but they may need a light sedative if they are particularly nervous or agitated. If the abdominal area is under investigation, your vet may ask you to fast your pet before the ultrasound, but this is not always necessary. It is often necessary to shave any fur or hair on the area of the body that the transducer will be passed along, as this can improve the quality of the results and allow clearer images to be obtained. Your vet will discuss this with you before the ultrasound takes place.

Conditions That Can Be Diagnosed With An Ultrasound

A wide variety of conditions can be diagnosed with an ultrasound examination, including tumours and cysts, abdominal obstructions, some types of cancer and blocked arteries. An ultrasound examination can also be used to look for structural damage or inflammation in any of the major organs and to diagnose blood clots. In addition to confirming a pregnancy, ultrasound can also be used to monitor the health of the babies and to confirm the number of babies your pet is expecting. Additionally, if your pet is receiving treatment for a tumour or other abnormal growth, regular ultrasounds may be carried out to monitor the size of the growth, which can help determine whether the treatment is working.

If you would like further information about pet ultrasounds, consult your vet.