Your Pet is Scheduled for an Ultrasound

An ultrasound scan is where high-frequency sound waves are used to produce images of structures within your pet’s body. So what should you expect from this procedure?

When a pet is scheduled in to have an ultrasound performed we will quite often have to sedate the patient.  This is necessary as the animal will need to be positioned on his/her back or side for an extended period of time.  Motion from heavy breathing (often from stress) can also negatively affect the images.  Sedation will remove these obstacles and we will be able to acquire good diagnostic images for our Radiologist to interpret.

The ultrasound probe needs to make clean contact with the skin so your pet’s fur will need to be shaved.  If we are doing a full abdominal ultrasound this will require your pet to be shaved from a few inches above the rib cage (depending on how deep chested your pet is) to the lower abdomen and even up the side of your pet’s body.  Your pet’s skin will then be cleaned to remove any oils and will be covered with an ultrasound fluid that improves conduction of sound.  You will also find we will have shaved a spot on your pet’s front leg.  We place intravenous catheters routinely to provide instant access to the vein for sedative medications, fluid therapy and in case of an emergency.

The morning of the procedure please take your dog for a walk to urinate (unless we are focusing on the bladder) and defecate so this will not be in the way of the structures we will need to be imaging.  Your pet should not be allowed to eat for 12 hours prior to the procedure.  This reduces the chance of vomiting during sedation and food content in the stomach and the gut can interfere with ultrasound images.

After we are finished the ultrasound scan we are generally able to give your pet a rapid reversal drug to the sedative we used.  This will help to wake the patient quicker and get him/her back home sooner.

All ultrasound images and videos are sent to a radiologist to interpret.  Results are reported back to us within 12 to 24 hours.  Our doctors here at Hillcrest Animal Hospital will contact you as soon as we have information pertaining to your beloved furry friend.

Ultrasound scans can give amazing definitive information about your pet that they just cannot tell us. They are an invaluable diagnostic tool, particularly when combined with radiographic images (x-rays).

If you have any further questions please do not hesitate to contact us at Hillcrest Animal Hospital at 613-394-4811.  We look forward to hearing from you.

Written by Darlene Cannon, RVT