Ultrasound is available for patients to gain a different perspective of what’s going on in the body than x-rays offer. We are able to determine the architecture of organs such as the kidney, liver, spleen and bladder. Additionally veterinary ultrasound can be used to diagnose pregnancies in small animals before a skeletal structure can be seen on x-ray.
What is an Ultrasound?
Ultrasound imaging is a method of acquiring information about the inside of the body using high-frequency sound waves. Ultrasound examinations can show the size, shape and texture of the internal organs. The examination is painless and no ionising radiation is involved.
How is it performed?
For ultrasound scans, the dog or cat has to have the hair clipped over the site which is to be scanned. The patient needs to be fasted from the night before the scan.
During the procedure, the animal will either be placed on its side or back. Sedation is usually not required for this procedure. A gel is applied to the skin ad an ultrasound probe is moved over the gel to acquire the images.
How does it work?
Ultrasound refers to high-frequency sound waves that are inaudible to the human ear. Ultrasound imaging is based on the same principles as 'sonar' utilised by boats and submarines.
During the scan, ultrasound waves are directed into the body. When they strike an organ within, they are reflected back creating an echo. The strength of the echoes returned depends on the consistency of the structure. These returned echoes are constantly measured, converted into an electrical signal and then displayed on the screen as an image.
For standard diagnostic ultrasound examinations, there are no known harmful effects.