Ultrasounds and Common Questions

Ultrasound provides many benefits for your pets – safety and non-invasiveness, its ability to tell us about what is going on inside an organ, and the fact that we can watch motion of those organs in 2- dimensional cross-section without using a scalpel!

Do ultrasounds hurt or cause stress?

  • On the contrary, pets often enjoy being scanned – they get to lie on the table with a nurse patting them and the lights dimmed – so much so that most do not need to be sedated! The probe only requires light contact on the skin with ultrasound gel so it is a pain-free exercise (if your pet already has a sore abdomen we would provide pain relief and possibly sedation before the scan)

Why do I have to fast my pet before a scan?

  • The liver, pancreas, kidneys and top of the spleen, to mention a few, are near the stomach – if the stomach is full, it obscures the image due to food from the stomach.

Why do you have to shave my pet’s abdominal skin?

  • The ultrasound probe needs to contact skin in order for the ultrasonic wave to pass through – fur harbours tiny air pockets that disrupt the image.

Is ultrasound dangerous?

  • Definitely not! Ultrasound waves are just high frequency waves. Unlike radioactive waves, they pass through the body tissue with no interaction between the waves and the cells apart from a little heat. In fact, the waves hardly produce any heat at all in the body so it is even safe to scan a foetus.

I thought the ultrasound was all you needed to diagnose what type of tumour my pet has. Why are you doing more tests?

  • Ultrasound is great at seeing detail in the architecture of the body, but it can’t see the type of cells in the problem area. For this, we sometimes take a sample via a needle or we will need to do surgery to take a sample of tissue to examine. Ultrasound helps guide the tests in the correct direction so we can hopefully have a speedier resolution to your pet’s condition.

If ultrasound is so good, why use xrays at all?

  • Both have their place: we use xrays for detail in very dense areas like the skeleton and air-filled areas such as the lungs, and ultrasound for detail in “soft” areas like the abdomen and inside the heart.

Get updates. Subscribe to our Newsletter.

    We will process the personal data you have supplied in accordance with our privacy policy.