Ultrasound can give us so much information about what is happening on the inside. When your pet has been scheduled for an ultrasound examination. The purpose of this procedure is to aid in making a proper diagnosis of a disease-causing illness or other condition. You’ll be pleased to know that Dr Mandy has done a post graduate year long course in Ultrasound in 2013 and has performed well over 1000 thorough ultrasounds since then.
An ultrasound machine emits ultrasound waves that penetrate into the internal organs and these waves are reflected back into the hand-held probe that is placed on the skin. The pattern of the reflected sound waves creates an image that is viewed on a screen.
Ultrasound examination allows a detailed view of many of the body’s organs that may not be available with other diagnostic imaging methods. For example, the kidneys can be seen on X-rays, but only their size and shape can be determined, whereas ultrasound allows us to view the internal structures of these and other vital organs.
An ultrasound examination is especially helpful for diseases of the heart. An ultrasound of the heart is called an echocardiogram, or “echo”. Some diseases can be diagnosed because they have a specific ultrasound appearance. Others, however, produce ultrasound findings that are not definitive. In these cases, we would choose another imaging method, or even a combination of methods, to gather the diagnostic information needed to provide the best care for your dog or cat.
In most cases, yes. It is important that the hand-held ultrasound probe makes complete contact with the skin. Sometimes the hair can be moistened with alcohol, but most studies require significant hair removal. Our team will take care of this step before the exam, and we’ll work to keep any “haircuts” as neat and even as possible!
One of the important features of an ultrasound examination is the ability to find abnormal areas in the organs. This can be done, for example, by inserting a needle that can be seen on the ultrasound image and obtaining cells from the organ, or even a sterile urine sample from the bladder. Alternatively, we may recommend exploratory surgery to take biopsies of internal organs (for example biopsies of the gastrointestinal tract – stomach, intestines, pancreas, liver).
Since an ultrasound study is performed in real time, the visual results are known immediately. In some cases, the ultrasound images are sent to a veterinary radiologist for further consultation. If this happens, the final report may not be available for a few days. We will let you know what to expect once the ultrasound exam is complete.
If you have any other questions about ultrasound, please reach out to us! We’re happy to talk with you about your pet’s health care needs.
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