Pet Ultrasounds: What are They Used For?​​​​​​​

dog ultrasound

Pet ultrasounds are a safe and straightforward way of imaging the inside of your pet’s body so that your veterinarian can determine if there are any abnormalities that may affect their health and wellbeing.

If your pet is referred for an ultrasound, you may understandably be concerned. However, they are a very routine part of the diagnostic process and can provide your pet with valuable information about the health of your pet. They are also extremely low-risk and there is no need for your pet to be placed under general anesthetic whilst they are carried out.

How Does a Pet Ultrasound Work?

Pet ultrasounds are very simple and work in exactly the same way as human ultrasounds. A special conducting gel is applied to your pet’s body in the area where the ultrasound is to take place, and this allows for better conduction of sound waves, which pass from the ultrasound probe into your pet’s body. When these sound waves come into contact with your pet’s internal structures, they either pass right through them, get absorbed by them or bounce back as echoes. These echoes are reflected back into the ultrasound machine which converts them into images that your veterinarian can see on a monitor in real-time. This means that if needs be, the probe can be maneuvered around to see different elements of the internal structures or obtain a clearer image.

What are Pet Ultrasounds Used For?

Pet ultrasounds have a wide range of valuable uses, primarily in the detection of both benign and malignant disease, and other medical conditions. These include, but are not limited to:

  • Abnormal blood vessels

  • Abnormalities of the gall bladder, kidneys, prostate or urinary bladder

  • Adrenal abnormalities

  • Diagnosis of pregnancy

  • Diseases of the heart

  • A disease of the pancreas or liver

  • Enlarged lymph nodes

  • Fluid around the heart

  • The fluid within the abdomen

  • Pregnancy monitoring

  • Stones within the gall bladder, kidneys or urinary bladder

  • Uterine infections

In some instances, pet ultrasounds are also used as a tool for taking samples directly from inside your pet’s body. You may hear of this process being referred to as ultrasound-guided aspirates. This involves using the ultrasound to direct a needle to the site with extreme accuracy and precision. The sample is then taken using the needle and removed so that it can be sent to the laboratory for testing.

Will an Ultrasound Hurt My Pet?

One of the main concerns that pet owners have about any testing that their animals undergo is whether or not it will cause any discomfort or pain. Ultrasound is entirely non-invasive and take place over your pet’s skin. A little of their coat may be gently shaved away so that the ultrasound probe can make good contact with the skin, but this won’t hurt.

The entire process shouldn’t take any more than an hour and maybe much shorter depending on how well your pet cooperates with the process. The results of your pet’s ultrasound will then be used to confirm a diagnosis and to make a decision about the treatment that your pet will receive.

If you have any further questions about what pet ultrasounds are used for or what will happen when your pet has this diagnostic testing, please don’t hesitate to contact our dedicated veterinary team in Las Vegas, NV.