What Are Pet Ultrasounds and Does My Pet Need One?

While ultrasounds are commonly associated with pregnant women, they have plenty of other purposes. In fact, an ultrasound is an excellent diagnostic tool for evaluating health conditions in dogs and cats. Learn how we use ultrasounds at Beechwold Vet to provide our pet patients with the best possible care.

What Is an Ultrasound?

Ultrasound equipment directs high frequency sound waves into a specific area. These waves then reflect off of tissue—producing an echo—which translates into an image we can see on a screen. Ultrasounds give us the opportunity to examine blood supply, as well as the location, shape, and texture of pets’ organs.

What Is an Ultrasound Used to Diagnose?

Ultrasounds are used to detect a number of conditions including:

  • Pregnancy – Just as with humans, we use ultrasound on pets to determine whether a pet is pregnant, as well as to see the number of babies she’s expecting
  • Prostate Problems – Ultrasounds are useful to determine the presence, or absence of prostate issues
  • Liver, Kidney, and Stomach Issues – When a pet is experiencing gastrointestinal distress, an ultrasound can often pinpoint the cause
  • Cancer Screenings – Ultrasounds can be used to help rule out cancer or to guide a biopsy
  • Cardiac Health – Sometimes we use ultrasounds to examine heart murmurs in greater detail

What Can I Expect If I Bring My Pet in for an Ultrasound?

At Beechwold Vet, we know how important your pets are to you. That’s why we use the latest technology and provide the gentlest care. Your pet’s experience with an ultrasound is no different. This non-invasive procedure is completely safe and painless.

When you bring your pet in for an ultrasound, we’ll typically shave the area in question to prepare for the ultrasound. Once your pet is shaved, we’ll apply an ultrasound gel to that area of your pet’s body. This creates a smooth surface for the probe to slide over. Then, we’ll guide the probe so we can get a clear picture of your dog or cat’s internal organs. Usually, this takes us between 15-30 minutes.

Because ultrasounds are non-invasive, we don’t need to use anesthesia in most cases. However, there are two exceptions. If your pet is extremely agitated or nervous, we may need to use anesthesia to keep him relaxed. Additionally, pets who need biopsies require sedation, because during a biopsy, we’ll be sampling abnormal tissue or fluid.

Beyond these two scenarios, the vast majority of ultrasounds can be performed without anesthesia.

What Symptoms Suggest My Pet May Need an Ultrasound?

The following symptoms suggest that an ultrasound may need to be performed:

  • Possibility of pregnancy
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Persistent infections
  • Difficulty urinating
  • Abnormal blood work
  • Loss of appetite

If your pet is experiencing any of these symptoms, we encourage you to schedule an appointment so we can determine if an ultrasound is necessary.

To schedule your appointment, please contact our Columbus office by calling 614.268.8666 during normal business hours. For your convenience, we’re open until 6:30 Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays; 7:30 on Tuesdays and Thursdays; and 3:30 on Saturdays.