Ultrasonography is a highly specialised skill. Canberra Mobile Vets have a portable ultrasound machine and may use it to help diagnosing abdominal conditions such as pregnancies, uterine or kidney infections, adrenal tumours, intestinal hypomotility or free fluid. For more complex ultrasonography, particularly of the heart, we may refer you to a vet hospital.
What is an ultrasound scan?
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 directed 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 on a screen. The images can be printed or recorded. Extensive training is required in order to correctly use this equipment and interpret these images.
Ultrasound scans are most useful for looking at soft or fluid-filled organs; like the liver, kidney, bladder and heart. It is less effective for examining bones or air-filled organs, like the lungs.
The area to be scanned will be shaved, so your pet may look different after the procedure. No pain is felt during an ultrasound exam, however, discomfort from pressure may be experienced. Sedatives may be necessary for those animals that won’t stay still or are uncomfortable. During the scan a water-soluble gel is applied over the clipped area to be examined and a transducer (probe) is placed on the skin. Ultrasound emits no dangerous radiation and is a highly safe procedure.