Ultrasound scanning is a painless procedure that uses high frequency sound waves (inaudible to humans) to produce images of structures within the body. When sound waves are aimed into the body, some are absorbed by body tissues and others bounce back. The sound waves that bounce back are measured by the ultrasound machine and are transformed into an image of a particular body area.
Ultrasonography is most useful for looking at soft or fluid filled organs like the liver, kidney, bladder, intestines, gall bladder, eyes, tendons, muscles, glands and heart. It is less effective for examining mineralized structures (like bones) or air-filled organs (like the lungs).
Here are some important steps that need to be taken before your pet has an ultrasound procedure.
Do not feed your pet after midnight the night before their procedure. Fasting is important as a full stomach will make imaging organs around the stomach difficult (liver, adrenals etc). Water is permitted.
Please do not let your pet urinate within 2 hours before their study. A full or partially full urinary bladder is very helpful for a complete examination.
Most of our patients will not need sedation. However, if your pet is very anxious or in pain, sedation may be helpful. It will also be indicate if a tissue biopsy is required. We will inform you if there are any contraindications to sedation.
After the procedure you may notice that your pet has been clipped. The hair on the abdomen (for abdominal ultrasound) or on the chest wall (thoracic ultrasound) will be shaved prior to the examination. This is necessary as the presence of hair obstructs the ultrasound waves and causes “blackout” on the picture. Blackout prevents us from obtaining the best possible view.
Following the examination Dr. Albarracin will evaluate the images and than discuss the images with a radiologist should it be needed. When you return to pick up your pet, you will be given a brief overview of the findings (pending on schedule), but we ask that you to schedule a visit or contact us to fully discuss the findings from the study and any further recommendations as they relate to the clinical problem of your pet.