This article looks at why you should use ultrasounds to monitor your pet. Ultrasound technology allows veterinarians to do a complete, non-invasive examination of your pet remotely. You'll learn what you can expect from an ultrasound and how it can provide important information about your pet's well-being. Read on to find out everything you need to know about pet ultrasounds.
What's an ultrasound?
An ultrasound is a non-invasive diagnostic tool that uses high-frequency waves to study various aspects of anatomy and physiology. There's no need for you to be present during the exam unless your pet is having a difficult time remaining still. While it may take a few minutes for your pet to get comfortable with this equipment, most pets adjust quickly and can be examined within minutes.
Your veterinarian may perform an ultrasound to look for abnormal movement or swelling in your pet's chest that suggests a problem with the lungs or breathing system. For example, an ultrasound may reveal fluid in the lungs (pulmonary oedema) during congestive heart failure (CHF). Ultrasounds can also be used to detect heart murmurs and other problems with the heart and blood vessels.
How does the procedure work?
Your pet is brought into the examination room and placed on an examining table that slides out from under the scanning table. The scanning table has a large, round opening so your pet can be positioned underneath the ultrasound transducer. The transducer is a small, hand-held device that contains a transmitter and receiver. It sends out high-frequency sound waves that bounce off your pet's body and back to a computer monitor, where they're displayed as an image of tissue on the monitor. Your veterinarian may use special tools to position the transducer to focus on specific areas of your pet's anatomy, such as the heart or abdominal organs.
How can I help?
You'll need to give your veterinarian a complete medical history and a thorough description of your pet's symptoms. Unfortunately, veterinarians can't diagnose most conditions based on an ultrasound alone. That's why you'll likely have follow-up exams, especially if your pet is seriously ill or there are other concerns about its health. Once you have given all the necessary information from your vet, you can expect them to contact you within a few days with the results of the ultrasound. In some cases, they may be able to suggest a treatment plan over the phone, as well as provide general care instructions for your pet.