Your vet has recommended an ultrasound for your dog or cat, but what exactly does that even mean? And how can it help your pet? Today, our Rock Hill vets explain how ultrasounds are performed on pets, how to prepare your cat or dog for an ultrasound and what conditions can be detected.
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 in order 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.
Reasons for a Pet Ultrasound
Our Rock Hill vets use ultrasound imaging to examine the structure of your pet’s organs so we can discover and identify blockages, tumors or other problems.
At Carolina Veterinary Specialists, this diagnostic imaging procedure is done in our in-house veterinary diagnostic laboratory.
Ultrasounds and other diagnostic tools help our team of veterinary specialists to form 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 For Your Dog or Cat
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 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
Most types 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.
How To Prepare Your Pet's 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 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 allow your cat or dog to 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, a biopsy needs to be done, 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 Dog or Cat's Ultrasound Results
Since your vets can perform an ultrasound in real time, they will get the results immediately. In some instances, images taken through ultrasound will have to be sent to a veterinary radiologist after they have been taken for examination. In cases like that, you may need to wait a few days before the final result is decided upon.
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.