Ultrasound is a safe, highly diagnostic and minimally invasive diagnostic procedure. Ultrasound can be used to detect pregnancy, screen for cancer, evaluate the structure of internal organs, identify foreign material, locate intestinal blockages, and detect stones in the gall or urinary bladder. It can also be used to guide a needle with precision into an area of interest for biopsy or fluid collection.
We are currently booking by referral only through our partner veterinary hospitals. Pets must be established patients or willing to establish care with our partners in order to schedule. Please follow this link to find a partner hospital near you.
For outpatient abdominal ultrasound appointments that do not require established care please contact Northwest Veterinary Imaging in Mountlake Terrace at 425-771-8100
1) Fast your pet: Do not feed your pet for at least 12 hours prior to the appointment (this includes treats at the doctors office)! Air and food in the stomach can block ultrasound waves and mimic foreign objects. If your pet normally takes morning medication please call for advice before giving anything by mouth on the day of your pet's ultrasound appointment. This is most important if we are looking for foreign material in the stomach or intestines.
2) Give Premedications: Your veterinarian may have provided premedications to be given the night before and the morning of the ultrasound. It is ok to give your pet their normal medications with a small treat or pill pocket.
3) Skip the last potty break: A full bladder is important to allow for accurate imaging of the bladder wall and surrounding lymph nodes. While a morning potty break is fine, don’t let your pet go to the bathroom in the 2 hours prior to your scheduled drop off. If possible, keep cats indoors and away from the litter box.
4) Check-In/Drop Off: Complete the pre-procedure check in at one of our participating veterinary hospitals.
5) Relax: Although away from mom and dad, your pets are under the absolute best loving-care of our compassionate staff. We make sure they are safe, comfortable and warm at all times during the examination and recovery.
6) Discharge: Your pet will be discharged to you later in the day. A full radiology report will sent to your veterinarian in 3-4 days.
1) Feed a light breakfast: Because we frequently use light sedation during our cardiac ultrasounds, it is safest if your pet has a minimal amount of food in the stomach. A small snack 2-3 hours prior to check in is appropriate. Routine oral medications or pre-medications are okay to give at least 2 hours before the appointment. Diabetic pets should be fed and given insulin as usual.
2) Give pre-medications as instructed by your veterinarian: Pre-medications are a combination of an anti-anxiety medication and a very mild sedative that help provide the most comfortable experience for our patients. These heart safe medications are typically given the night before and the morning of the procedure. In addition to helping your pet have a positive experience, they also decrease the need for injectable sedation. Please let us know in advance if your veterinarian did not prescribe pre-medications.
Check In/Drop Off: On your pet’s scheduled day, please arrive 5-10 minutes before your scheduled drop off time to check in with one of our staff members. Clients arriving more than 15 minutes late may be asked to reschedule.
Evaluation by our veterinarian: Your pet will receive a pre-procedure evaluation by our veterinarian sonographer. The procedure plan and estimated charges will be discussed with you at this time.
3)Discharge: Most pets will be ready to pick up in the early afternoon. We do require that all animals be picked up no later than 5:00PM. After hours drop off or pickups may be available for an additional fee.
For Oak Harbor Drop Offs:
Sedation and Shaving: Most animals require a small amount of hair be shaved to create a scanning window. Please let us know at check in if there is a reason your pet cannot be shaved. A small amount of alcohol and ultrasound gel will be applied to the skin to allow for clear imaging. We routinely choose to administer a short acting, heart safe sedative chosen by our cardiologist. This reduces movement, increases accuracy, and allows for a much shorter procedure for your pet. If your pet begins to show signs of escalating fear or anxiety while at our clinic, medications to reduce anxiety will be administered. It is not safe or compassionate to struggle with a fearful pet, especially if they have heart disease. It is truly for their comfort and safety we require consent for sedation in every patient.
You Can Relax: Although away from you for a few hours, your pets are in the caring hands of our well-trained staff. Our Fear Free Certified Professionals ensure they are safe, comfortable, and warm at all times during the ultrasound and recovery. Our clinic utilizes classical music, quiet spaces, pheromone diffusers, gentle touch, and other fear free approaches to ensure a low anxiety experience for our patients.
Results: Once available, we will send a cardiac report to your veterinarian directly. Your veterinarian will utilize the cardiologist’s recommendations to manage your pet’s heart disease. If you would like a copy of the report, it is typically available 1 week after the ultrasound.
We understand: We know that it can be stressful to drop your animal off with an new veterinarian. We promise to care for your animals as they are our own. We are happy to answer any questions you might have in advance. -Dr. Brazle, Dr. Callihan and the Shuksan Veterinary Team
Fine Needle Aspirate (FNA) is a method of acquiring a small tissue sample for microscopic analysis. Ultrasound guidance is a great way to collect these samples easily and accurately. You will decide with your veterinarian if you would like this procedure done at the same time as the imaging study. It is a convenient opportunity since your pet is already prepared and may be lightly sedated. Side effects are very rare but can include bleeding or infection.
Please keep in mind that if sedation was used, your pet may be a little sleepy and unsteady on their feet at the discharge appointment. It is best to put them in a comfortable place for 2-3 hours where they won't be able to wander near anything harmful. Our sedation medications are short acting and will usually wear off in a few hours. Some sensitive patients may see mild lingering effects for 2-3 days.