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Ultrasound for Dogs and Cats: What Pet Owners Want to Know

So you've just learned that your cat or dog requires an ultrasound. What exactly does that imply? And how will it benefit your pet? Our Davidson County veterinarians describe ultrasound procedures on pets, how to prepare your pet for the procedure, and what conditions this testing can detect.

Our pets can get all kinds of illnesses and conditions, such as tumors or cysts, and get into things they shouldn't, which can become lodged inside them. Ultrasounds are a type of diagnostic imaging technology that sends sound waves into your pet's body to produce a real-time image of a specific area of their body.

Non-invasive veterinary ultrasounds can be used to diagnose or evaluate problems with your pet's internal organs or to check on your pet's pregnancy.

Reasons Your Pet May Need An Ultrasound

An ultrasound can assist veterinarians in examining the structure of your pet's organs in order to detect and identify blockages, tumors, or other problems.

Conditions That May Require An Ultrasound

Heart Conditions

If your dog or cat has a heart condition, your veterinarian 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 look for any abnormalities.

Abnormal Blood or Urine Test Results

If your veterinarian finds any anomalies or abnormalities in your pet's urine tests or blood samples, they may recommend that your companion undergo an ultrasound to gain a better picture of their internal organs such as lymph nodes, kidneys, bladder, and more in order to try and identify what is causing the problem.

Examination of Soft Tissues

Ultrasound imaging technology allows for detailed examination of nearly all types of soft tissue. Ultrasound is commonly used to examine the following areas:

  • Eyes
  • Tendons
  • Ligaments
  • Fetal viability and development
  • Thyroid glands

If abnormal tissue is discovered during an ultrasound, the veterinarian may use the ultrasound to collect tissue samples from the affected area.

How To Prepare Your Pet for an Ultrasound

Ultrasounds on various parts of your pet's body necessitate different types of preparation. Inquire with your veterinarian about the specific steps you must take to prepare your pet for the ultrasound.

You may need to restrict your pet's eating and drinking for 8 to 12 hours prior to the procedure, especially for abdominal ultrasounds. Because your veterinarian can best examine your pet's bladder when it is full, you should avoid having your cat or dog urinate for 3 to 6 hours before the procedure.

The area to be examined will most likely be shaved in order to produce clear images. While the majority of pets will remain still and cooperative during the ultrasound, some will require sedation.

If biopsies are required following an ultrasound, your pet will require a strong sedative to help them relax and avoid complications. If this is required, your veterinarian will notify you.

Getting Your Pet's Ultrasound Results

Because your veterinarians can perform an ultrasound in real-time, the results will be available immediately. Images obtained via ultrasound may need to be sent to a veterinary radiologist after being obtained for examination in some cases. In such cases, you may have to wait a few days before the final decision is made.

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.

Does your dog or cat require an ultrasound? Contact Thomasville Veterinary Hospital Urgent Care + Surgery today for more information. We may even be able to give you a referral.

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