Your veterinarian has recommended that your pet have an ultrasound procedure. What will an ultrasound tell your vet about your dog or cat's health? And how can it help your pet? Today our Berkeley vets answer these questions and more about veterinary ultrasound.
Diagnostic Imaging for Dogs & Cats
Our pets can develop all sorts of illnesses and conditions like tumors or cysts and get into things they shouldn't that may get lodged inside them. Ultrasounds are a kind of diagnostic imaging technology that transmits sound waves into your pet's body to produce a picture in real-time of an area of their body.
Veterinary ultrasounds are non-invasive and can be used to diagnose or evaluate problems with your pet's internal organs or check on your pet's pregnancy.
Why Your Veterinarian May Recommend an Ultrasound for Your Pet
An ultrasound can help our Berkeley vets examine the structure of your pet’s organs so we can discover and identify blockages, tumors, or other problems.
At Berkeley Dog & Cat Hospital, ultrasounds are done in our in-house veterinary diagnostic laboratory. Our team of veterinary specialists uses ultrasounds and other diagnostic tools to provide an accurate diagnosis of your pet’s medical issues, so we can provide your pet with the most effective treatment possible.
Conditions That May Require An Ultrasound
While ultrasound technology isn't always the right tool for every condition, there are a few health issues seen in pets that ultrasound can be particularly helpful in diagnosing and understanding the severity including the following:
If your dog or cat has been diagnosed with a heart condition, your vet may refer you to a specialist for a heart ultrasound or echocardiogram to help evaluate the condition and function of your pet's heart and to search for any abnormalities.
Abnormal Blood or Urine Test Results
If your veterinarian discovers any anomalies or abnormalities in your pet's urine tests or blood samples, they may recommend that your companion get an ultrasound to gain a better picture of their internal organs like their lymph nodes, kidneys, bladder, and more to try and identify what is causing the issue.
Examination of Soft Tissues
Almost all kinds of soft tissue can be examined in detail thanks to ultrasound imaging technology. Some of the most common areas examined using ultrasound include:
- Fetal viability and development
- Thyroid glands
If abnormal tissue is spotted during an ultrasound, the vet may also use the ultrasound to help collect tissue samples from the affected area.
Preparing Your Pet for an Ultrasound
Ultrasounds performed on different areas of your pet's body require different kinds of preparation. Ask your vets for the specific things you need to do to help prepare your pet for its ultrasound.
You may need to stop your pet from eating and drinking for 8 to 12 hours before the procedure, in particular before abdominal ultrasounds. Your vet will be able to best examine your pet's bladder when it is full so for ultrasounds of that organ, you should ideally not have your cat or dog urinate for 3 to 6 hours before the procedure.
The area to be examined will likely be shaved so clear images can be produced. While most pets will remain still and cooperative during the ultrasound, some will need to be sedated.
If, after an ultrasound, biopsies need to be conducted, your pet will require a heavy sedative to anesthetic to help them relax and prevent complications. Your vet will be sure to let you know if the is necessary.
Findings From Your Pet's Ultrasound Results
Since your veterinarian can perform an ultrasound in real-time, in many cases results are analysed immediately. That said. in some cases, ultrasound images will have to be sent to a veterinary radiologist for examination. If that is the case for your pet's ultrasound results, you may need to wait a few days before receiving the final diagnosis.
Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.