Our Gawler hospital is fully equipped with an ultrasound scanner to assist evaluation of your pet’s condition if required. Your veterinarian 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 with diagnosing 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, non-invasive 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 recorded as part of your records, and your veterinarian can show you the images when discussing the results with you. Extensive training is required in order to correctly use this equipment and interpret these images. Dr Michelle Starr has completed some further education in ultrasonography, so if appropriate your pet's ultrasound will be scheduled with her.
Ultrasound scans are most useful for looking at soft or fluid-filled organs; like the liver, kidney, bladder and heart. Ultrasound can also be used to examine the reproductive tract for uterine infections or prostate disease. 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 patients are admitted into hospital for the day to have an ultrasound scan done, unless it is an emergency when your veterinarian will do it immediately. You will be asked to bring your pet in unfed on the morning of admission, as they may need to be sedated to keep still for 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. Full scans can take an hour or more, depending on what needs to be examined. 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 finished and the images assessed, you will be called to book an appointment for your veterinarian to show you the images and to discuss the diagnosis and treatment plan for your pet.