Ultrasound examinations are performed to allow visual internal structures to be seen. It is non-invasive and works by recording echos or reflections of ultrasonic waves. This type of test is very safe for the pet opposed to x-rays, which give off radiation. The ultrasound waves that are reflected will return off the probe and create an image to allow a practitioner to have a good look inside the patient. It is mainly used to evaluate organs and their structures, but are mainly used to assess heart conditions and visualize abdominal organs. Ultrasonography is very useful in identifying and diagnosing cysts and tumors.
Occasionally, we will use the ultrasound to allow the doctor or technician to visualize the bladder if a sterile urine sample is warranted. When urine is collected via cystocentesis (cysto- bladder, centesis- puncture), we use a needle to “tap” the bladder, obtaining it directly from the source rather than collecting “free catch” when pets use the bathroom normally. When urine is excreted when the pet uses the bathroom, it is considered contaminated due to potential bacteria in the urethra, prepuce or vaginal areas. When we perform a cystocentesis, it does not hurt the pet- is it like a blood draw or a poke for a vaccination. We use a padded trough as well as a comfy blanket to ensure your baby is comfortable.
Ultrasound technology gives our doctors a three-dimensional look at your pet’s insides. The equipment uses sound waves to generate an image of their abdominal or chest cavity. We get a good look at your pet’s liver, kidneys, and other internal organs so we can diagnose and evaluate their problems. Ultrasound is a valuable diagnostic tool for assessing these and other symptoms:
- Abdominal masses
- Bowel or urinary problems
- Poor eating habits
- Excessive weight loss
- Cardiac problems
- Conditions found during a medical exam
The information we gather during a veterinary ultrasound helps us establish your pet’s diagnostic and treatment plan. After an ultrasound, our doctors may decide to do a biopsy, conduct more tests, perform corrective surgery, or choose other options. If our doctors already have surgery planned, an ultrasound gives us critical pre-surgery information.