An ultrasound exam is a way of looking inside your pet’s body (liver, kidneys, and intestines) without having to perform surgery. The ultrasound machine sends sound waves into the body and then listens for the echoes, the machine then uses these echoes to form a picture of the inside of your pet!
Ultrasound exams are performed at Brook Farm Veterinary Center for many reasons. In human medicine, most of us think about ultrasound exams during pregnancy. However, in veterinary medicine, because ultrasound is a safe, repeatable way to look inside the body, it has become a very useful tool for many other situations.
Your veterinarian may have requested an ultrasound exam of your pet for one of the following reasons:
- Abnormal bloodwork
- Vomiting or diarrhea that has lasted for a long time
- Weight loss with no change in eating habits
- Chronic infections
- Change in urinary habits
- Baseline ultrasound for future examination (geriatric patients)
- Recheck on previous problem
- Cancer staging
- Fluid in chest or abdomen
- To permit biopsy
Ultrasound allows us to examine internal organs for location, size, shape, texture and blood supply. It is not uncommon to find “masses” within the organs being examined by ultrasound, although many of these turn out to be normal changes that occur as patients age. It cannot always be determined by ultrasound alone if the mass is benign (non-cancerous) or malignant (cancer). The doctor will look at your pet’s medical history and current concern, as well as the entire ultrasound exam to make a diagnosis and recommendations for further tests.
Further tests may include an ultrasound-guided aspirate of a mass found on ultrasound (obtaining a very small sample of the tissue with a needle), bloodwork, additional imaging, recheck imaging or surgery.