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  • Consultation by a Board Certified Radiologist available for each scan

  • Screenings are performed by a 21+ year dual Licensed Technician with ultrasound training and experience

  • A doctor will be available in hospital if sedation is necessary. Pets are monitored during screenings and sedation (if needed)

What is involved?

An ultrasound examination, also known as ultrasonography or echosonography, is an imaging technique that allows internal body structures to be seen by recording echoes of ultrasonic waves. Unlike x-rays, which are potentially dangerous, ultrasound waves are considered to be entirely safe.

Ultrasound equipment directs a narrow beam of high frequency sound waves into an area of interest. The sound waves may be transmitted through, reflected or absorbed by the tissue toward which they are pointed. As the beam strikes the interface or boundary between two tissues, some of the ultrasound waves are absorbed and others are reflected back. These reflected sound waves are converted into electrical impulses that are displayed on a monitor. This gives a 2-dimensional "picture" of the tissues under examination.

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 and identifying changes in abdominal organs. Ultrasonography is very useful in the diagnosis of cysts and cancers.

Does the technique have any drawbacks?

Depending on the images produced, ultrasound can take various forms. In veterinary work B-mode ultrasound is the most usual. This gives a two-dimensional picture of the organ scanned. M-mode is also used. This is a type of B-mode in which the tracing of the motion of the object scanned is displayed. Patients can have an ultrasound performed by a cardiologist to evaluate the heart. 

***Cardiac Ultrasound would be by referral to a specialty practice

Will my dog have to have an anesthetic?

Anesthesia is not usually needed for most ultrasound examinations. This is one of the great advantages of ultrasound. The technique is non-invasive but does involve clipping an area of hair and applying a water-soluble jelly on the skin. The technique is totally painless and most pets will lie comfortably while the scan is being performed. Occasionally, if the pet is frightened or fractious, a sedative may be necessary.

Is the technique affordable?

Although the initial cost of a scan may seem excessive, it has to be equated with the high cost of the equipment, the fact that specialist training is required in order to interpret the images and the time involved in carrying out the examination. Its value, particularly in cases such as evaluation of the internal organs or pregnancy diagnosis make it an invaluable, non-invasive diagnostic tool to help protect your pet's well-being.

This client information sheet is based on material written by Ernest Ward, DVM. 

Copyright 2005 Lifelearn Inc. Used with permission under license. February 20, 2019

Image by Jonas Vincent
Image by fotografu
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