Ultrasound. What is it good for? Where do I get one? by Dr. Sarah Martin

In a small animal clinic an ultrasound is usually recommended for the following reasons:

  1. Urination issues – while an x-ray is great for many types of bladder stones, an ultrasound can pick up some stones an x-ray may miss and an ultrasound can visualize masses in the bladder that an x-ray can miss. An ultrasound can also visualize the kidneys in detail.
  2. Liver enzymes are up on your pet’s bloodwork. An ultrasound can help us look at the liver, rule out a mass in the liver and check out the gallbladder (yes, dogs can get gallstones too!). With ultrasound guidance we can aspirate cells from the liver or perform a liver biopsy.
  3. If we have palpated an abnormal mass/enlarged organ, an ultrasound can help us determine exactly what the mass or organ is and if there is other organ involvement.
  4. If your pet is sick and bloodwork and x-rays have not given us a definitive diagnosis and ultrasound is less invasive than an exploratory surgery.  If the small intestine wall is thickened this can be seen on x-ray, then we need to put together the whole clinical picture – is it thickened due to food allergy, inflammatory bowel disease or cancer. Sometimes we will need to biopsy.
  5. If your veterinarian has heard a heart murmur then an ultrasound will actually tell us what is wrong with the heart and then we can recommend further treatment.
  6. And, of course, pregnancy!!

At Park Road Veterinary Clinic we feel that an ultrasound exam can be an invaluable part of the total medical care we can offer your pet. We have a brand new ultrasound machine on site and our scans are read by board certified radiologists. Our team are continually improving their ultrasound skill with continuing education. All of our team members feel that being able to offer an ultrasound compliments our digital x-ray and in house bloodwork, while you wait for results!