When it comes to diagnosing and treating our patients, knowledge is power. If that knowledge can be gained quickly and non-invasively, even better.
We have many diagnostic tools at hand, but one of the most valuable is veterinary ultrasound. Learn how the veterinarians at Stone Ridge Veterinary Medical Center are using it to provide better care for our pet patients.
A Veterinary Ultrasound Primer
Many people are familiar with ultrasound technology, but they may not truly understand how it works. While most diagnostic imaging techniques create a picture of a pet’s insides, they are not all created equal.
Unlike an x-ray, which utilizes radiation waves, ultrasound uses sound waves to create a picture on a screen. While we can’t hear the sound, these waves are powerful and work similarly to a bat’s sonar abilities.
The sound waves are created using a handheld external probe, delivering them into the tissues. The tissues then reflect them back to the probe at different speeds depending on their makeup, creating the picture we see.
During an ultrasound we can visualize the structure and movement of many internal organs in real-time and in great detail. Often the area of interest is clipped to allow us to get a good picture. Some animals may need light sedation to help them keep still. In general, though, ultrasound is:
- Side-effect free
This makes it a great tool in many situations to gain more information about the pets that we are treating.
The Uses of Ultrasound in Veterinary Medicine
With ultrasound technology readily available at both our animal hospital, as well as the Conroe facility, we are finding the possibilities and uses endless. Some of the more common ways we are using our ultrasound include:
- Obtaining sterile urine specimens (cystocentesis)
- Obtaining fluid samples from the chest (thoracocentesis) or abdomen (abdominocentesis)
- Evaluating the digestive tract for abnormal motility
- Evaluating changes on lab work such as increased liver or kidney values
- Determining pregnancy
- Investigating heart murmurs or other cardiac abnormalities – this can be done at our Conroe facility
- Evaluating the internal organs – this would be done by a board-certified radiologist at our Conroe facility
- Screening for internal tumors or masses – results would be interpreted by the radiologist at Conroe
- Diagnosing urinary stones
- Staging cancer – our Conroe facility would have the radiologist interpret images
- Obtaining non-invasive biopsies – our Conroe facility would interpret images
Veterinary ultrasound technology opens up a world of possibilities for the patients at our facilities. Although we often need to utilize several diagnostic tools to help the pets we see, ultrasound is indispensable. We use it daily to do a better job for the animals in our care, obtaining more efficient and accurate diagnoses.
We are so proud to be able to offer incredible diagnostic tools to our patients, and it’s one more way we can show just how dedicated we are to your four-legged family. Call your Willis veterinarian today with any questions, we are happy to help.