Ultrasonography, or more commonly known as ultrasound, is an important diagnostic tool and is the second most commonly used diagnostic imaging procedure utilized in veterinary medicine. Ultrasound is important to assess the soft tissue structures of the body in which radiographs can not capture. Ultrasound is a noninvasive procedure that causes minimal discomfort to your pet. Usually, the only discomfort a pet exhibits during ultrasound is when they are positioned on their backs or if they have a painful abdomen prior to the procedure.
When an ultrasound is conducted, your pet will usually be placed on their backs in a soft, foam trough for the procedure. A technician or a doctor will usually shave some of their hair on their stomach or chest. This is due to the fact that hair causes interference with the ultrasound probe and prevents an image of their internal organs from appearing on the ultrasound screen. Then they will place a hypoallergenic gel on your pet’s stomach and will begin the procedure by placing the ultrasound probe on top of the gel. This probe sends out ultrasonic sound waves and creates an image of your pet’s internal body structures based on the echoes reflected from the organs and internal structures.
This procedure is important because it allows our doctors to see the size and shapes of your pet’s organs and can show any abnormalities within them such as structural changes, deficiencies, or even tumors. In emergency situations, ultrasound may be used to see if there is any internal bleeding within the chest or abdominal cavities as well as assessing for any other internal damage that may have occurred in which we can not see externally. Ultrasound is also used to evaluate animals who are pregnant to evaluate the health of their babies, approximate due dates, and estimate the number of babies developing.