Ultrasounds And Why Your Pet Might Need One

Posted on: 12 July 2016


It's common for humans to have to undergo an ultrasound but you may not be aware that these diagnostic tests can be beneficial for your pet as well. Here are some things you will want to know when it comes to ultrasounds and why your furry friend might need one.

Why an Ultrasound for Your Pet?

With an ultrasound, your veterinarian will be able to see the fluid-filled organs in your pet such as the heart, bladder, liver, spleen, prostate gland, and kidney. Veterinarians often use ultrasounds in the place of invasive exploratory surgery. For pets that have anxiety and might not be able to lie still, they may need to be sedated for the procedure. Normally any animal hospital will be able to perform an ultrasound on your pet.

What Symptoms Warrant an Ultrasound for Your Pet?

If your pet is having certain symptoms, and your veterinarian is unable to determine a diagnosis by simply examining your furry friend, the vet may order an ultrasound. Some symptoms can indicate a serious problem such as:

  • Chronic vomiting - could indicate the possibility of cancer, an ulcer, liver failure, bladder obstruction, or your pet may have ingested a foreign object
  • Unexplained weight loss - could indicate liver disease, thyroid disease in cats, kidney failure, or cancer
  • Change in urinary habits - could indicate crystals in the urine, stones in the bladder, or a urinary tract infection

Since organs are seen better on an empty stomach, most veterinarians will recommend that your cat or dog abstains from eating solid food after a certain time of night. They can still, however, have as much water as they like. Another way to see the organs better is if your pet has a full bladder. While it may be hard to do, try to prevent your pet from urinating within a certain amount of time before the ultrasound. Your pet might also need to be shaved around the area the ultrasound is being performed as fur can block ultrasound waves.

What Happens After an Ultrasound on Your Pet?

Your pet will not have any negative side effects after this safe and noninvasive procedure. If their symptoms do not require a stay at the animal hospital, you will be able to take your pet home right away afterward. Before making a proper diagnosis, your veterinarian, such as at Lamb's Gap Animal Hospital, will most likely gather all of your pet's medical history, list of symptoms, and images from the ultrasound. They will then let you know if any further testing is needed.