Answers to 5 Common Pet Ultrasound Questions

A pet ultrasound is an effective and safe diagnostic imaging technique that can be used to locate swallowed objects, the location of potential tumors or even to track cardiovascular health. If your vet has recommended an ultrasound, you may have a few questions. 

1. Is the Ultrasound Painful?

An ultrasound is a painless process. In most cases, there isn't even any discomfort involved for your pet. The only time minor discomfort may be a concern is if a fine needle aspirate or biopsy is done at the same time as the ultrasound. Even in this case, the discomfort is mild and steps will be taken to ensure your pet feels as little pain and anxiety as possible. 

2. Will My Pet Be Under Anaesthesia?

Generally, the pet is kept awake throughout the procedure. This is especially true for any ultrasounds being completed to assess heart and cardiovascular health, as sedation may skew the results of the ultrasound due to the slowing of the pulse when a pet is put under. Anaesthesia is typically only used if the animal suffers from extreme anxiety. It may also be used if a fine needle aspirate or biopsy is to be performed at the same time as the ultrasound, in order to reduce discomfort for your pet. 

3. How Does One Prepare For the Ultrasound?

Very little is necessary for preparation. Your ultrasound technician may recommend a short period of fasting, usually no more than a few hours, if the area to be scanned lies within the region of the digestive system. Your vet may also have you bring in your pet prior to the ultrasound so they can clip the scan area of fur, or you may be given instructions to do this fur trimming yourself prior to the appointment. 

4. Are Results Available Immediately?

Results aren't typically provided immediately. A technician takes the images and then forwards them to your veterinarian. Your vet will then use the images to find the proper diagnosis. How long this takes can vary, but typically you can expect to hear from your vet in less than a week. Often, a follow-up appointment will be scheduled in order to discuss the results of the ultrasound in person. 

5. What If Travel Isn't Possible?

It may be difficult to travel with your pet, particularly if an ultrasound technician is not located nearby. Fortunately, there are mobile pet ultrasound technicians that can travel directly to your home or to your local vet's office. This can be a good option if you do not live near a pet ultrasound service. 

Contact a pet ultrasound provider if you have further questions about the process and your pet's health.