Our hospital is fully equipped with an ultrasound scanner to assist evaluation of your pet’s condition if required.  Our veterinarians will discuss your pet’s case and conduct a thorough physical examination to determine if your pet requires an ultrasound examination. An 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.

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 they are booked in for an ultrasound scan?

Often our patients are admitted to hospital for the day to have an ultrasound scan done. We may 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. In the event of an emergency, an ultrasound may be performed immediately, with or without sedation.

Ultrasounds to confirm pregnancy can be performed from approximately 21 days after mating. Dogs booked in for a pregnancy ultrasound are generally not sedated and this proceedure may be performed in a consultation to confirm pregnancy status before proceeding with treatment.

The area to be scanned will likely need to 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 to produce an image.

Once the scan has been completed we will give you a call or book an appointment for our veterinarians to show you the images and to discuss the diagnosis and treatment plan for your pet.