Ultrasound uses high-frequency sound waves to look inside your pet’s body at the soft tissue structures without having to perform surgery. The ultrasound machine sends sound waves into your pet’s body and then listens for the echoes. The machine interprets these echoes to form a picture of the inside of your pet’s body.

Ultrasound will not harm your pet and provides valuable information. Our radiologists use ultrasound to examine internal organs for shape, location, size, texture and blood supply. Coupled with other imaging, bloodwork, and specialist input, ultrasound is a powerful and versatile diagnostic tool.

Possible reasons your pet may need an ultrasound:

  • Change in urinary habit
  • Prolonged vomiting or diarrhea
  • Abnormal blood work
  • Chronic infection
  • Weight loss
  • Cancer staging
  • Fluid in the chest or abdomen
  • Pre-surgical work-up
  • Recheck of a previous problem
  • Endocrine disease
  • Lameness
  • Non-invasive tissue sampling
  • Therapeutic injection or cyst ablation

What to expect when your pet has an ultrasound:

One of our veterinary technicians will take your pet to the ultrasound room. Unfortunately, we don’t allow owners to accompany pets during their ultrasound exam, but we promise to make your pet as comfortable as possible. Because sounds waves don’t like to travel through hair, we will have to shave the area of your pet being scanned. The ultrasound probe needs as much contact with your pet’s skin as possible. Your pet will be gently restrained during the exam by one of our veterinary technicians who will also make sure your pet receives plenty of reassuring rubs. Pets may rest on their back or side on a padded surface for the ultrasound exam. Occasionally a pet will require sedation. Our radiologist will apply a warm, water-based gel and a small amount of pressure to the area being scanned.

Typically exams take 20-30 minutes to complete in order to get the best images. However, some exams may take longer. If the exam is going to take longer than anticipated, we will make sure your pet has a chance to stretch and wiggle around.

Once the exam is complete, our radiologist will discuss the results and what next steps need to be taken with your VSH specialist. Whether other departments at VSH are brought in or additional tests recommended, we will communicate everything to you and to your primary care veterinarian.

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