What is an ultrasound?
Ultrasound is a form of images that allows us to look inside the body of your pet without surgery. It is a completely non-invasive technique. The ultrasound machine sends sound waves in the pet’s body, records the echoes and the echoes of these sound waves form a picture of what is going on inside your dog or cat.
The ultrasound can give us information about organs in the abdomen, chest and heart and eyes and tendons, for example. But still the most requested exams are abdominal ultrasound and echocardiogram is an ultrasound of the heart.
Why Your veterinarian can request an abdominal ultrasound?
– Unexplained weight loss
– Abdominal pain
– Lack of appetite (anorexia)
– Presence of free fluid in the abdomen (internal bleeding, ascites)
– A mass or abnormality found during a physical exam
– Vomiting or diarrhea without explanation
– urogenital problems
– Examination of blood or abnormal radiographs
Ultrasound allows us to evaluate the size and texture of the organs of a 3D shape (three dimensional). An ultrasound can show abnormalities on the surface of organs, as well as changes in them.
This information can be valuable to decide:
– Make a surgery or not
– Do biopsies
– Make more specific blood tests
– Get useful information of specific diseases
What to expect from ultrasound exam?
If you already did an ultrasound on yourself, you know how simple it is. The transducer is pressed over your body and the images are displayed on a monitor. The only difference to an animal is that the have to be cut to the contact transducer directly on the skin. Typically, the entire abdomen can be analyzed and average examination lasts up to 30 minutes.
Normally, there is no need for sedation unless biopsies occurred or aspiration cytology.
Ultrasound: Common Diagnostics
1. Mass in the abdomen. When your veterinarian realizes an abnormality in the abdomen, through the abdominal palpation or X rays, show a possible mass (tumor). An ultrasound can often tell which organs are affected and whether surgery is the right option.
2. Bladder and kidney. The ultrasound helps us to look inside the bladder, kidney, prostate or uterus. If your pet is having trouble urinating, constant infections or blood tests show kidney problems or infection, calculus (stones) in the kidney or bladder or gallbladder.
3. Adrenal glands. You’ve probably heard about Cushing’s disease (hyperadrenocorticism) in older dogs and how frustrating it can be to diagnose and treat. Ultrasound allows us to look at the small adrenal, hard glands see on plain radiographs.
4. pancreas, gallbladder. Inflammation, increase in size, next infection pictures to organs (focal peritonitis) are difficult to identify if there is a good quality ultrasound examination. Pancreatitis, a very common disease nowadays, is diagnosed by ultrasound.
There are many other things to be discovered in an abdominal ultrasound and not only to assist in pregnancy, as in the past. Today the quality of the devices (some with doppler) even helps determine abdominal thrombosis, allowing assess blood flow in the veins and arteries, as shown in the image below:
Another key factor is the experience of the veterinarian. Today there are specializations, residency and postgraduate courses aimed at the Diagnostic Imaging.
When choosing where to perform the ultrasound examination on your pet, consider all these factors.
In Pet Care Veterinary Center, all units have highly qualified professionals and the latest equipment, which enable a reliable test that can clarify much more than older devices.