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Ultrasounds: What can they tell us?

December 8, 2009 by  
Filed under Diagnostics

In veterinary medicine, we are constantly challenged with determining a diagnosis for our patients’ problems.   Unfortunately, we cannot speak directly with our patients.  Consequently, this limits the amount of information they can give us.  We rely heavily on owner observations and physical exam findings.  Although this information is generally quite useful, additional diagnostics are often required to solve the problem. Diagnostic tests may include blood and urine testing or xrays.  At Olathe Animal Hospital , we can also use ultrasound to help us diagnose your pet’s problems.

Ultrasound imaging is useful because it allows the doctor to visualize inside the pet’s body in a non-invasive way.  Ultrasound of the abdomen or belly is commonly utilized.  The structures that are evaluated with abdominal ultrasound include the liver, gall bladder, kidney, spleen, pancreas, adrenal glands, urinary bladder, and reproductive organs.  Ultrasound imaging of these organs aids the doctor in determining problems or diseases related to these structures.  In addition, the ultrasound can be used to obtain urine samples or biopsy samples for testing.  For example, urine may be obtained by ultrasound guided cystocentesis for urine culture. In addition, an ultrasound guided liver biopsy may aid the doctor in diagnosis of a liver problem and therefore guide appropriate and specific treatment for your pet.

Ultrasound is one of the best ways to evaluate heart structure and function.  The internal structure of the heart can be viewed while the heart is beating.  The heart wall and valves can be evaluated for abnormalities. Assessment of the heart will aid the doctor in determining which medical therapies are best for your pet.

Ultrasound exams are performed in our treatment area at Olathe Animal Hospital .  The area on your pet’s body to be examined will need to be clipped free of hair.  Sedation may or may not be required.  Please speak with any of our doctors if you have any questions about how an ultrasound exam would benefit your pet’s medical care.

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