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How to Prepare Pets for an Ultrasound

If your pet has an unclear health issue, the vet at El Abrigado Animal Clinic may recommend an ultrasound for an accurate diagnosis. Ultrasound involves imaging technology to produce a clear image of an internal organ or specific body part. Sound waves enter the body, allowing the vet a quick and accurate diagnosis.


Getting an Ultrasound

An ultrasound is an effective diagnostic tool that is quick and non-invasive. The vet uses a handheld probe connected to a computer to view images created by the sound waves. Moving the probe across the skin surface produces images of the area of interest.

The sound waves are not painful or harmful to the pet. Radiographs or X-rays can help look inside the body, evaluating the size and shape. On the other hand, ultrasounds help assess the tissue of the organ. It allows for a more accurate diagnosis.


When Pets Need an Ultrasound

There are several reasons why your vet may recommend an ultrasound for your pet, including:


  • The vet may need an ultrasound (echocardiogram) if your pet has a heart condition

  • If test results reveal abnormalities in the blood or urine

  • If the vet needs to evaluate soft tissues, including the eyes, thyroid glands, and ligaments

  • If the vet wants to determine fetal development or viability

  • Helps with the detection of foreign objects

  • Emergency ultrasounds to check for pneumothorax or internal hemorrhage

If the vet finds abnormal tissue during an ultrasound, samples may be collected for further testing. An ultrasound-guided biopsy can help collect a sample of the tissue. An ultrasound can help vets develop the most effective treatment plan.


Preparing Pets for an Ultrasound

There are things you need to do to prepare your pet for an ultrasound. Your vet will give you instructions on preparing your pet, depending on the scanned area. You will most likely need to withhold water and food for eight to 12 hours before the ultrasound. It is especially essential for an abdominal ultrasound.

An examination of the urinary bladder is best when the bladder is full. The vet may need to shave the area to be examined. It helps obtain better images. Some pets will require sedation during the biopsy process.


The Pet’s Ultrasound Results

You can view the ultrasound images in real-time, so the vet can diagnose the issue immediately. In some cases, the images may need to be sent to a radiologist for further diagnosis. It will require waiting for several days to get the results. The cost of a pet ultrasound will depend on different factors. These include the expertise or cost of a specialist, your location, and the type of ultrasound required.

An ultrasound can help the vet examine the pet’s internal structure. It can help detect, identify, and assess tumors, blockages, and other issues. The scans help distinguish soft tissue masses from foreign fluids or bodies. This is not always possible using alternative diagnostic tools such as X-rays.

For more on preparing pets for an ultrasound, visit El Abrigado Animal Clinic at our Santa Teresa, New Mexico office. Call 575-589-1818 today to schedule an appointment.

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