The Advantages of Ultrasound in Veterinary Medicine

By Dr. Donald Consla, Lead Wellness Veterinarian

We are very excited to announce that our new ultrasound machine recently arrived at the Animal Wellness Center! Ultrasound is a non-invasive imaging tool that allows us to directly visualize organs within the body. And, we simply can’t wait to see the positive impact it will have in the lives of our four-legged clients.

The ultrasound machine is essentially a computer with a screen attached to a probe. At the end of the probe is a crystal that vibrates back and forth generating soundwaves. These soundwaves penetrate into the body and can either be absorbed or reflected by tissue. If all the sound waves are absorbed and no waves are reflected back, the computer generates a black image which is usually associated with fluid. If all sound waves are reflected back, a white image is generated. This type of image typically occurs with bone or dense tissue. Generally, some sound waves are absorbed and some are reflected back resulting in different shades of grey. All of this generates an image of the organ that is being assessed and gives us a clear picture of what is going on inside.

We are usually prompted to perform an ultrasound as part of a more advanced screening. For example, if blood work identifies elevations in liver or kidney values, we can use the ultrasound to look directly at these organs to help determine the cause of the changes in bloodwork.

To perform an abdominal ultrasound, the patient’s fur is clipped from the abdomen and we lay them down in a foam trough. In most cases, we don’t even need sedation! The doctor then systematically moves the probe around the abdomen and evaluates all the organs within. The abdomen houses many organs including the liver, gallbladder, stomach, small intestine, large intestine, spleen, kidneys, adrenal glands, urinary bladder and various lymph nodes. We can also use the ultrasound to help obtain diagnostic samples such as urine directly from the bladder or aspirations of the liver or spleen.

We are thrilled to add the ultrasound machine as a resource to help us offer more advanced diagnoses. This will allow us to provide more information for our clients to help them make the best decisions regarding the ongoing care of their beloved four-legged friends.

This entry was posted in Animal Friends News. Bookmark the permalink.