So, you've just learned that your dog or cat needs an ultrasound procedure. But what does this mean, and how can it help your companion? Here, our Gilbert veterinary team explains how we perform ultrasound procedures on pets, how to prepare dogs and cats for ultrasounds and what kind of conditions these tests can detect.
Our companions can develop all sorts of conditions and illnesses in the course of their lives, from tumors to cysts, or may have things they should eat get lodged inside their body. Ultrasounds are a diagnostic imaging technology that transmits sound waves into your pet's body in order to produce a picture of the interior of your pet's body in real-time.
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.
Reasons Your Pet May Need An Ultrasound
An ultrasound can help our Gilbert vets examine the structure of your pet’s organs so we can discover and identify blockages, tumors or other problems.
At Crossroads Veterinary Hospital, our ultrasounds are conducted in our in-house veterinary diagnostic laboratory. Our team of veterinarians uses ultrasounds, in addition to other diagnostic imaging procedures, to provide your pet with the most effective treatment possible.
Conditions That May Require An Ultrasound
If your cat or dog has been diagnosed with a heart condition, your veterinarian may refer you to a specialist for heart ultrasound imaging or echocardiograms in order to help evaluate your companion's condition and their heart's function.
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 in order 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
Nearly all kinds of soft tissue can be assessed in detail thanks to ultrasound imaging technology. Some of the most common areas examined using ultrasound include:
- Thyroid glands
- Fetal viability and development
If abnormal tissue is spotted during an ultrasound, the vet may also use the ultrasound to help collect tissue samples from the affected area.
How To Prepare Your Pet for an Ultrasound
Ultrasounds that are performed on different areas of your pet's body will require different kinds of preparation. Ask your veterinarian about the specific things you should do to help prepare your dog or cat for their 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 that is slated for imaging will likely need to be shaved so that clear images can be produced of your pet's body. While most pets will remain cooperative and still 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.
Getting Your Pet's Ultrasound Results
Since your veterinarians can perform ultrasounds in real-time, they will be able to share the results of their diagnostics immediately with you. In some cases, images captured through ultrasound will have to be send to a veterinary ultrasonographic after they have been collected.
In these instances, you will have to wait a few days before the final result is decided upon and your pet's course of treatment can be planned.
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.