Ultrasounds are a valuable tool in veterinary medicine – they allow veterinarians to gain priceless information often missed by other diagnostic methods in a noninvasive procedure. Because ultrasounds are noninvasive (they don’t require surgery), they are completely painless for your pet. The majority of patients don’t need anesthesia to remain comfortable, but a light sedative to promote relaxation may be administered depending on the pet’s demeanor and desired outcome of the ultrasound.
Ultrasounds work by directing high-frequency sound waves at internal organs. These waves bounce of the organs, producing an echo, which is converted into a visual image.
Types of Ultrasound:
- Abdominal ultrasounds – there are the most commonly performed ultrasound procedures. They are conducted in effort to diagnose gastrointestinal tract tumors, organ enlargement and pregnancy. During the ultrasound, veterinarians look for changes in the spleen, intestines, kidneys and surrounding organs. If the diagnosis cannot be confirmed by ultrasound, the vet may conduct other tests to rule out potential concerns.
- Echocardiogram – This procedure is very similar to an abdominal ultrasound. The difference is that this type of ultrasound is performed over the chest surface and helps diagnose heart abnormalities that could lead to congestive heart failure or cardiac arrest. Echocardiograms should be performed and read by licensed and trained specialists, as they are in our facility. These ultrasounds typically last half an hour and are recommended for pets genetically prone to heart diseases. Although these ultrasounds are performed in the chest area, they aren’t used to detect lung abnormalities. As the name suggests, echocardiograms are used to obtain images of the heart, measuring dimensions and blood flow.