Seeing under the skin–that’s what’s possible with ultrasound technology. Ultrasound is a powerful diagnostic tool that creates a real-time internal image of an animal’s body, giving us important information about the circulatory, skeletal and gastrointestinal systems.
When used in conjunction with other diagnostic tools like X-rays, ultrasounds can help identify disease, blockages, skeletal fractures, soft tissue damage and other internal injuries. Because ultrasounds don’t require radiation, they’re also used to monitor pregnancies and fetal health in breeding pets.
What are Veterinary Ultrasounds?
Ultrasound imaging, also known as ultrasonography, is another type of veterinary radiology service. Ultrasound uses high-frequency sound waves to produce images of the internal structures of the body. This technology is particularly useful for imaging soft tissues and organs, such as the liver, kidneys, and heart. Ultrasound imaging can be used to diagnose conditions such as tumors, cysts, and organ disease. Ultrasound is non-invasive, painless, and does not expose animals to ionizing radiation.
How Do Veterinary Ultrasounds Work?
An ultrasound works by broadcasting high-frequency sound waves that reflect off your pet’s internal structures. A small probe held against the skin collects the returning signals to create an image of the internal body, most commonly used to examine abdominal organs like the stomach, kidneys, liver, spleen and gallbladder. An echocardiogram, or ultrasound of the heart, provides precise information about heart valves, blood flow, chamber size and contractions. Completely painless and non-invasive, ultrasounds usually require some sedation because the patient must remain completely still.
What Can Ultrasounds Help Prevent or Treat?
Both X-rays and ultrasounds provide valuable insights to help treat and prevent lifelong health issues. They are a non-invasive way for our talented veterinary team to diagnose and treat common and not-so-common issues. Waunakee Veterinary Clinic‘s radiology and ultrasound services can help detect and diagnose a wide range of ailments in pets.
Some of the most common conditions that can be detected or helped prevent using ultrasounds include:
- Pregnancy: Ultrasounds can help determine if a female pet is pregnant, estimate the number of fetuses, and monitor the development of the fetuses throughout the pregnancy.
- Urinary tract issues: Ultrasounds can help diagnose urinary tract issues in pets, such as bladder stones or tumors, and guide the placement of urinary catheters or the performance of biopsies.
- Gastrointestinal issues: Ultrasounds can help diagnose gastrointestinal issues in pets, such as inflammatory bowel disease or tumors, and guide the placement of feeding tubes or the performance of biopsies.
- Cardiac issues: Ultrasounds can help diagnose and monitor cardiac issues in pets, such as heart murmurs or congestive heart failure, and guide the treatment of these conditions.
- Reproductive issues: Ultrasounds can help diagnose reproductive issues in pets, such as uterine infections or testicular tumors, and guide the performance of spays or neuters.
- Soft tissue injuries: Ultrasounds can help diagnose soft tissue injuries in pets, such as muscle or tendon tears, and guide the administration of treatments such as physiotherapy.
- Cancer: Ultrasounds can help diagnose cancer in pets, such as lymphoma or soft tissue sarcomas, and guide the performance of biopsies or other treatments.
Overall, ultrasounds are a valuable diagnostic tool for a wide range of conditions in pets. They can help identify issues early, allowing veterinarians to develop treatment plans that may help prevent further damage or complications and improve the overall health and quality of life of pets.
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