Our hospital offers ultrasound (sonogram) examinations as a non-invasive procedure to evaluate internal organs. Many times both radiographs (X-rays) and ultrasound of your pet are recommended for best evaluation of your pet's problem. Ultrasound uses high-frequency sound waves to look at organs and structures inside the body. Ultrasonography offers a method for the diagnosis and staging of many diseases as well as provide an excellent tool to study the organs and tissues in the abdominal cavity. Ultrasound may be used to evaluate the architecture of the structures in the abdomen, including the liver, spleen, kidneys, urinary bladder, adrenal glands, stomach, pancreas, intestinal tract and prostate or uterus and ovaries. It is also helpful in evaluating for enlarged lymph nodes, abdominal blood vessels or other abnormalities in the tissues. Ultrasound is also helpful in evaluating other soft tissue structures, such as masses, the thyroid glands as well as portions of the thorax, including functionality of the heart (echocardiography).
The typical ultrasound examination requires no tranquilization or anesthesia and is easily performed on awake animals. Prior fasting or water withholding is NOT required, but an empty stomach is helpful. The only patient preparation necessary is clipping of the hair overlying the area to be scanned (the ultrasound will not penetrate through air that gets trapped in the hair) and placing coupling lotion on the skin surface just prior to the exam process. The entire scanning process usually takes less than 30-40 minute. Images are displayed on the monitor of the ultrasound machine and are interpreted during the scan, so there is no delay in obtaining the results.
Ultrasound can also offer a method of obtaining tissues samples (see section below). Doppler ultrasound can also be used during any ultrasound study to evaluate blood flow in organs, tissues and structures.
Ultrasound Guided Tissue Sampling
Ultrasound offers a method of obtaining fine needle aspirates or biopsies of tissues or organs, which our specialist can use ultrasound to guide the needle into the specific area of interest and obtain samples for this specific region. Most tissue aspirates can be performed in an awake patient, but some may require sedation (depending on individual patient).