Organs that ultrasound scans can provide particularly important information include the heart, liver, kidneys, gut tract, reproductive tract and bladder.
When your pet has a scan, it is particularly important for everyone that they are relaxed and comfortable. With this in mind dogs and cats are admitted into separate wards and given a warm space to settle before their procedure.
Then when their scan is due, the ultrasound is performed by them being carefully restrained on a cushioned surface by a nurse and comforted throughout the procedure. If your animal becomes agitated despite this, then sedation is administered to facilitate comfort as well as improve image quality which is reduced by motion. To reduce the risk of nausea with sedation, pets are often requested to be admitted without food on the morning of the scan. To facilitate good contact an area of skin is often clipped, gently cleaned and an ultrasound gel is applied. In most circumstances the fur grows back quickly, so don’t worry about the clipped area remaining bald for a significant time. Your pet would then be returned to their bed to recover, under our watchful supervision pending discharge.
The useful thing about ultrasound is that guided samples of organs can also be taken at the same time, which is much safer than blind sampling. Don’t worry, this would not be done without your informed consent. This would be often be discussed with you on admission.
Ultrasound scans are rapidly providing more and more information for our patients. Its safety and non-invasive nature make it a preferred method of imaging in many cases.