Ultrasound is safe and painless, and produces pictures of the inside of the body using sound waves. Ultrasound equipment directs a narrow beam of high frequency sound waves into the area of interest. The sound waves may be transmitted through, reflected or absorbed by the tissues that they encounter. The technique is invaluable for the examination of internal organs and was first used in veterinary medicine for pregnancy diagnosis. However, the technique is also extremely useful in evaluating heart conditions and identifying changes in abdominal organs. Ultrasonography is very useful in the diagnosis of cysts and tumors.
Anesthesia is not usually needed for most ultrasound examinations, unless biopsies are to be taken. The technique is totally painless and most dogs and cats will lie comfortably while the scan is being performed. Occasionally, if the dog or cat is very frightened, a sedative may be necessary.
Since an ultrasound study is performed in real time, the results of what is seen are known immediately. In some cases, our doctors will send the ultrasound images to a veterinary radiologist for further consultation.