Ultrasound for Cats & Dogs in Frederick, MD
When your pet is unwell, it can be difficult to locate the source of the issue. Diagnostic imaging, such as an ultrasound, can help provide a fuller picture. From there, the vet can create an optimal treatment plan.
What Is an Ultrasound?
An ultrasound, also known as ultrasonography or sonographic imaging, is a non-invasive procedure that allows the vet to see the internal structures of an animal.
It works by sending ultrasonic sound waves through the body, typically the abdomen, but other areas can be imaged this way to a more limited extent. The sound waves can penetrate through the skin and echo off of the pet’s organs. A machine then calculates these echoes and returns a live image of the internal system.
Ultrasounds are much safer than X-rays, as they do not involve radiation. They are also much easier, faster, and safer than exploratory surgery.
How Is an Ultrasound Performed on Pets?
Before an ultrasound appointment, you may be required to withhold food and water for between 8 and 12 hours, as directed by your veterinarian. If the urinary tract is being examined, you may be asked to bring the pet in with a full bladder, meaning they should not urinate between 3 to 6 hours before the procedure, if possible.
For the best image, it is necessary for the wand to make direct contact with the skin. This means the vet will begin by shaving the area that needs to be examined.
Ultrasounds are completely painless for the animal, so there is no need for sedation. Most pets can lay down comfortably while the vet performs the procedure. However, for particularly frightened or uncooperative animals, sedation may be necessary for the vet to perform the analysis.
The ultrasound produces live imagery that can be reviewed in real-time. Therefore, the vet is able to make a diagnosis during the appointment. In some cases, the images will be passed on to a sonographic expert for a second opinion. This will only delay the diagnosis by a couple of days.
If an abnormality is detected, a biopsy might also be required. This involves taking live tissue from the animal for micro-analysis in a lab. Using two different methods of diagnostic testing can create a more informed picture of the issue. If the vet decides to follow up on the ultrasound with a biopsy, this will require sedation.
Why Might a Vet Recommend an Ultrasound?
Ultrasounds are useful in a wide variety of scenarios. They can be used to analyze the health of all organs in the abdominal cavity, including the liver, kidneys, stomach, spleen, pancreas, adrenal glands, intestines, bladder, prostate, and more.
Unlike an X-ray, the ultrasound can more clearly show hard objects, such as internal blockages, tumors, and foreign bodies ingested by the pet. It is also effective on the eyes, heart, and thyroid glands to diagnose any potential diseases in these areas.
Just like in humans, an ultrasound is often used on pets to diagnose a pregnancy and perform prenatal checkups. If your pet is showing symptoms of pregnancy, such as weight gain, changes in appetite or mood, and breast growth, the vet will likely recommend an ultrasound.
Ultrasound for Pets in Frederick, MD
If your pet is showing signs of illness, time is of the essence. The sooner a diagnosis is made, the more effective the required treatment will be.
That’s why Old Farm Veterinary Hospital provides ultrasounds for cats and dogs in Frederick, Maryland. Our team of caring veterinary professionals will help your pet feel safe and comfortable until they are all better.