As a pet owner, you are probably familiar with taking your furry baby to the vet for their vaccinations. But if your animal has never experienced major medical problems, you may be unfamiliar with additional tests that may be required at some point in its lifetime. And one such test is an ultrasound. Similar to humans, pet ultrasounds are carried out for various diagnostic reasons, so it is inadvisable to ignore taking your pet for one when it is recommended by a vet. To help you learn what to expect, below is a furry parent's guide to pet ultrasounds.
What are the common reasons why this diagnostic test would be necessary?
Arguably, the most common reason why your pet's veterinarian will prescribe an ultrasound is to confirm if your animal is pregnant. Usually, this will be due to results from their blood test or if their abdomen is distended. Nevertheless, this is not the only instance when this diagnostic test would be necessary. In other scenarios, the vet may need to have ultrasound images to check for issues with organs such as the thyroid, prostate, kidney, heart, liver and so on. For most of these organs, the images will show if there are abnormal growths, and this would necessitate a biopsy to check if the growths are cancerous. When it comes to the heart, the ultrasound will check for murmurs.
Should your pet be prepped for the ultrasound?
The answer is yes. It is recommended that your pet should not ingest any food for several hours prior to the ultrasound. Your vet will inform you on how long you should fast your furry baby before coming in for this diagnostic test. Moreover, it is recommended to give your pet a considerable amount of water during this period. The water helps with keeping their bladder full while their stomach remains empty, which is ideal for clear images.
Is the ultrasound carried out the same way as for humans?
While the machinery works the same for both pets and humans, the preparation does vary. For starters, since pets are covered in fur, the ultrasound site must be shaved beforehand. The sonographer will typically shave your pet for you. In addition to this, your pet will have to be anaesthetised during the procedure. This measure is important because, unlike humans, animals cannot sit still during the procedure and this inactivity is necessary for clear images.
Reach out to a local vet to learn more about pet ultrasounds.