Staying Safe This Winter

Three Ways Ultrasound Is Useful For Your Pet

Ultrasound is a safe, painless and useful technology in veterinary care. It's the same technology used to generate images during human pregnancy. In animal medicine it serves as an efficient way to visualize organs, which helps prevent the need for exploratory surgery. The veterinarian presses the ultrasound tool against the skin, where it sends high frequency waves to target areas such as the liver, or kidneys. Images are created when the transducer collects the sounds waves that bounce back. Check out three ways ultrasound can be useful for your pet. 

Diagnose Gastrointestinal Issues

If your pet has been experiencing vomiting, diarrhea, or any other digestive issues, an ultrasound can be helpful in pinpointing the problem. An ultrasound of your pet's abdomen will reveal common issues such as inflammation, also known as gastroenteritis, which may occur if there's been a change in the pet's diet that isn't going over well. Sometimes pets swallow non-food items. It's not uncommon for pet's to eat marbles, paper clips and other household items. An ultrasound can also detect parasites and help diagnose other digestive issues, such as constipation.

Detect Tumors

During a physical exam, your vet may find growths, or unexplained masses on your pet. An ultrasound can then be used to visualize the mass. Unfortunately ultrasound is incapable of distinguishing whether or not a mass is cancerous, so a biopsy will be needed. However, an ultrasound can help guide the biopsy. During a biopsy, your veterinarian will take a sample of the tissue and send it to the lab to be analyzed. If your pet has cancer, an ultrasound can help check for metastasis, which refers to the cancer spreading to other parts of the body. 

Monitor Pregnancy

Whether you're currently breeding your pet, or you suspect your pet is pregnant, ultrasound is an excellent way to assess the situation. It's a very sensitive imaging method for detecting pregnancy. The ultrasound technology will be able to determine whether or not the fetuses are viable and how far along your pet is. For dogs and cats, pregnancy can often be detected within 14 days of breeding. Keep in mind that there is a small margin of error, where false negatives can occur. This can happen if fecal matter, or gas is creating shadows that block the fetus. False positives can also occur, but most of the time ultrasound technology for detecting pregnancy in pets is highly reliable. 

More information about ultrasound applications available for your pet can be found at your local veterinarian.