Diagnostic Imaging

Ultrasound works by directing high frequency sound waves at internal organs. The sound bounces off the organ, producing an echo, which is then converted into a visual image by a transmitter.

Ultrasound is completely painless for your pet and usually noninvasive. The majority of patients do not require anesthesia while others may require a light sedative to promote relaxation. This is usually determined by not only the pet’s demeanor but also the desired outcome of the ultrasound.

Ultrasound is a valuable tool in veterinary medicine. A lot can be learned about your pet’s health in a very short amount of time. Information gained during an ultrasound can be priceless, noninvasive (not requiring an exploratory surgery), and produce results often missed by other diagnostic methods.

Ultrasound is also an excellent means of obtaining biopsy sample that is much less painful and invasive than exploratory surgeries.

Types of Ultrasound:

The most commonly performed canine ultrasound includes abdominal ultrasound and cardiac ultrasound.

Abdominal ultrasound is used to diagnose gastrointestinal tract tumors, organ enlargement, and pregnancy. During the ultrasound, the veterinarian will detect any changes present in the spleen, intestines, kidneys and surrounding organs. Since tumors may be hidden due to shadows visible in x-rays, an ultrasound is a preferred diagnostic test. However, if the diagnosis isn't confirmed through abdominal ultrasounds, the vet will conduct other tests to distinguish health concerns present. Frequently our emergency veterinarians will use ultrasound to assist in diagnosing medical emergencies.

An echocardiogram is performed in the same manner as abdominal ultrasounds. This procedure helps the veterinarian diagnose heart abnormalities that could lead to congestive heart failure or cardiac arrest.  The only difference is that the ultrasound is performed over the chest surface, between the ribs. Echocardiograms should be performed and read by licensed and trained specialists. Both Dr. Portillo and Dr. Esh are highly trained in the use of this tool. The procedure takes a little over half an hour. Although echocardiograms are performed at the chest area, they aren't used to detect lung abnormalities. They're used to obtain images of the heart to measure dimensions and check blood flow. Pets genetically predisposed to heart diseases and dogs that exhibit symptoms of heart murmur require an echocardiogram test to rule out heart conditions. Apart from ultrasounds, the veterinarian will perform other diagnostic tests to confirm illnesses.