Catch the (Sound) Wave: Veterinary Ultrasound
Have you ever considered what superpower you might choose if given the chance? Being able to fly, having superhuman strength, or zipping around at the speed of light might be incredible. As veterinarians, x-ray vision sounds pretty handy.
While your team at Animal Family Veterinary Care Center hasn’t quite figured out how to harness any ocular x-ray powers, we have settled for the next best thing this side of real life: veterinary ultrasound.
All About Those Waves
Ultrasound technology isn’t new, but it is establishing a greater presence in the veterinary world.
Ultrasound uses focused sound waves to create an image of internal organs and other structures within the body in a safe and non-invasive manner. It also allows these images to be seen in real time and can even trace the movement of blood within the vessels of the body using Doppler technology.
We are able to obtain ultrasound images by placing a probe on the area to be imaged. This does not hurt, and while sound waves are used, there is no audible noise. An image is then created on the screen for us to evaluate.
The patient may need to be shaved in an area to get a good image and if the animal is unable to be still enough for us to obtain the information we need, sometimes light sedation is necessary.
While radiographs (x-rays) are still an important diagnostic tool, ultrasound offers several advantages when it comes to patient imaging:
- Allows more detail of soft tissue structures to be visualized
- Aids in visualization of organs, such as the gallbladder or adrenal glands, that are not well visualized on a radiograph
- Helps visualize motility and flow of fluids, such as blood or urine, within the body
- Can help guide tissue or fluid sampling
The Power of Veterinary Ultrasound
Veterinary ultrasound has many uses, and sometimes we wonder how we would be able to function without it. The doctors at Animal Family Veterinary Care Center use our ultrasound machine on a daily basis for purposes including:
- Obtaining sterile urine samples (cystocentesis)
- Evaluating for the presence of foreign objects in the digestive tract
- Investigating changes in blood work, such as increased liver values
- Assessing pregnancy
- Evaluating cardiac concerns, such as a heart murmur
- Diagnosing and sampling fluid in the chest or abdominal cavities
- Obtaining non-invasive biopsies of various tissues
- Screening for internal masses or growths
- Diagnosing urinary tract stones
- Staging cancer
What would we do without our ultrasound? This incredible technology allows us to more efficiently diagnose and treat our patients every day.
While we may be functioning without actual superpowers, veterinary ultrasound certainly gives us a leg up when it comes to better caring for pets. Let us know if you have questions or concerns about your furry family member. Animal Family Veterinary Care Center is here to save the day!