Ultrasound scan is a very important tool to help us diagnose diseases in animals, particularly for conditions involving soft tissues, such as those found in the abdomen, or the heart. Our hospital has has its own state of the art portable ultrasound machine, we also have access to Dr Helen Binnie, an Adelaide vet who is a specialist in radiography and ultrasound. We organize her visits to our hospital as needed, for more complicated cases.
What is an ultrasound scan?
Ultrasound scanning is a painless procedure that uses high frequency sound waves (inaudible to humans) to produce images of structures within the body. When sound waves are directed into the body, some are absorbed by body tissues and others bounce back. The sound waves that bounce back are measured by the ultrasound machine and are transformed into an image on a screen. The images can be printed or recorded. Extensive training is required in order to correctly use this equipment and interpret these images.
Ultrasound scans are most useful for looking at soft or fluid-filled organs; like the liver, kidney, bladder and heart. It is less effective for examining bones or air-filled organs, like the lungs.
What happens to my pet when it is booked in for an ultrasound scan?
Most of our patients are admitted into hospital for the day to have an ultrasound scan done. We ask that you bring your pet in unfed on the morning of admission, as they may need to be sedated to allow us to do the best scan possible.
The area to be scanned will be shaved, so your pet may look different when they come home. No pain is felt during an ultrasound exam, however, discomfort from pressure may be experienced. Sedatives may be necessary for those animals that won’t stay still or are uncomfortable. During the scan a water-soluble gel is applied over the clipped area to be examined and a transducer (probe) is placed on the skin.
Once the scan has been done we then organize a discharge appointment to discuss the findings and any ongoing treatment.