Ultrasonography is the use of ultrasonic (high-frequency sound) waves to produce a picture of your pet's internal organs. These waves are emitted from a small probe held against your pet's skin. The waves echo off your pet's internal structures and are picked up by a sensor within the probe. This echo is then resolved into a visible picture, called a sonogram, by the ultrasound computer. This picture allows us to see organs functioning in real time, unlike x-rays. Also unlike x-rays, which emit radiation, ultrasound waves are considered completely safe. Pets can be examined without sedation and there is no discomfort associated with ultrasound examinations.
We care deeply about your pet’s entire wellbeing. If your dog or cat needs an ultrasound, please call us to discuss not only their acute health issues but health history, lifestyle, and future. We are happy to take over case management and provide excellent comprehensive care for your pet!
First, your pet will be positioned on her back in a comfortable "V" shaped cushion. The area will likely be shaved, to allow the probe to make direct contact with your pet's skin. A conductive gel will be applied, and the doctor will then gently hold the small probe to the area to be visualized. The entire procedure will take between 20-30 minutes and in most cases we'll have answers for you within that same time frame. In some cases, futher testing or consulting with a specialist may be indicated.
We can view the size, shape, texture, and movement of your pet's internal organs with this technique, allowing us to assess function and check for any abnormalities in real time. In some cases, ultrasound may be used to guide a fine needle to take a small sample of cells or fluid (fine needle aspiration or biopsy) from an internal organ or even to sample bone marrow from bones.
If your pet needs to submit a urine sample for analysis, the ultrasound machine helps us in collecting a sterile sample, as well as giving us a glimpse into the health of her bladder. This allows us to test which bacteria may be causing your pet's urinary issues and perscribe the proper antibiotics.
Ultrasound is especially good at visualizing soft tissue diseases that don’t show up well on x-rays. It allows us to differentiate between fluid-filled cysts and solid tumors, find blockages or fluid build-up, measure organ size and disease progression, and visualize stones. Thus sonograms make it possible to quickly and painlessly diagnose a number of different ailments, including those affecting the liver, spleen, gallbladder, kidneys, and some forms of cancer. This makes ultrasonography a very important component in our diagnostic toolbox, and integral to providing you and your pets the most complete and state of the art care possible.
An echocardiogram (cardiac ultrasound) is a sonar image of the heart and adjacent large blood vessels. This is a non-invasive technique that allows our doctors to examine the anatomy and mechanical function of the heart. Our 2D imaging allows evaluation of the walls, chambers, and valves, as well as the measurement of specific anatomy such as chamber size and wall thickness. A color Doppler image shows the direction and speed of blood flow throughout the heart and vessels, and can show us leaks in the four heart valves, abnormal movement of blood between the left and right sides of the heart, and obstructions to normal blood flow.
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