Ultrasound is safe, highly diagnostic and minimally invasive diagnostic procedure. To date there have been no reported side effects associated with exposure to ultrasound waves. 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.
On your pet’s scheduled day they will check in with a member of our veterinary staff. The procedure plan and estimated charges will be discussed with you at this time; feel free to call or e-mail our staff ahead of time with any questions. We also ask that you sign a consent form for the ultrasound procedure.
After check in, any necessary lab tests can be collected and performed, your pet will also receive a pre-procedure evaluation to determine if sedation is necessary, and to make sure your pet is healthy enough for sedation if warranted. If tissue aspirates (small needle biopsies) have been recommended and approved, sedation is usually performed for your pets comfort and safety.
Immediately prior to the ultrasound, your pet's abdomen and part of the ribs will be shaved. A small amount of alcohol and ultrasound gel will be applied to the skin to allow for clear imaging. Some pets can be imaged while awake but many pets require a very light sedative for clear and thorough imaging. This reduces movement, increases accuracy and allows for thorough evaluation of the deeper structures in the abdomen.
Rest easy, as your pet is constantly and carefully monitored by our trained veterinary staff at all times.
1) Fast your pet: Do not feed your pet for at least 8 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. Oral medications to reduce anxiety at the vet clinic are okay to give at least 3 hours before the appointment.
2) 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.
3) Check In/Drop Off: Complete the pre-procedure check in at one of our participating veterinary hospitals.
4) 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.
5) Grab a Cup of Coffee: The procedure time varies but it typically takes between 1.5 to 2 hours from check in to recovery. You are welcome to wait in the waiting room if desired or feel free to drop off and schedule a set pick up time later in the day.
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 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 (this includes open water bowls). Our sedation medications are short acting and will usually wear off in a few hours.
Feel free to contact us with questions. Please include the pet owners full name, the pet's name, the referring veterinarian, referring veterinary hospital and a brief summary of the reason your pet may need an ultrasound.
*Please note that all appointments are tentative until a referral has been submitted by the supervising veterinarian.
Payment in full is due at the time pickup from of the ultrasound. We current accept all major credit cards, cash or Scratchpay. To apply for Scratchpay please click on the following link: