An ultrasound exam is a non-invasive way that our vets can use to see the inside of your pet’s body. It is used by your veterinarian to see if internal organs and other tissues are normal and to see how they are functioning.
Ultrasound does not subject your pet to radiation, as is the case with x-rays. In place of radiation, ultrasound employs sound waves to make a live picture of the organ or other body area. Ultrasound records the sound waves as they hit and reflect back from your pets organs. Some of the waves probe through the organ and others are absorbed. The reflections are, in fact, echoes of the sound waves sent out by the device. Your vet can then view the resulting images of the body tissues as two-dimensional moving images on a monitor.
When is Ultrasound Used by Our Vet?
Ultrasound is not perfect for diagnosing every illness or condition as it cannot “see through” air-filled lungs or bones. However, pet ultrasound does help vets observe and diagnose:
Cat or dog ultrasound for pregnancy
Abdominal organs (changes or abnormality)
Pregnancy (the stage of pregnancy, health of developing puppies, kittens, etc.)
Heart problems (helps evaluate cardiac function)
Tumors and cysts (for instance in the stomach area, intestines, on the ovaries)
Cat ultrasound or dog ultrasound for cancer
What to Expect during an Ultrasound Exam
Usually, your pet will not need anesthesia or even sedation for an ultrasound exam, unless we intend to take a biopsy (sample of a growth) or if your pet is particularly anxious. We normally have to shave the area for the best view. Our vet or technician will use a handheld probe/instrument and may apply a gel to the skin to allow the probe to move smoothly over it. The gel can feel cool or cold to your pet. After just a few minutes of moving the probe over the targeted body area, the test is finished.