Ultrasound FAQs

Why do an ultrasound?

  • An ultrasound is typically recommended for abnormal urine or blood testing, or when your veterinarian can feel an abnormal structure in the abdomen. It can also be done as part of a senior wellness screening.
  • This is a very non-invasive way to determine if there are structural abnormalities present -for example stones in the bladder, gallbladder, cysts, intestinal foreign bodies, IBD, or tumours.
  • Sometimes we recommend sampling masses by guiding a needle with the ultrasound probe to obtain a sample of the mass. This can often replace surgical biopsies.
  • We have been able to avoid exploratory surgery in many animals by simply looking at the insides with ultrasound.
  • Ultrasound gives a great deal more information than x-rays since it can see inside the organs whereas x- rays only shows the general outline of the organs.
  • Ultrasound is also used to detect pregnancy at 32 days gestation whereas x-rays are not reliable until 55 days gestation.

Does an ultrasound hurt?

  • No! Your pet is placed on their back in a padded trough and the probe is passed over their skin to obtain ultrasound images. Because being on their back and the sound of clippers makes most dogs nervous, a light sedation is given to the pet prior to the ultrasound. They are awake and able to walk, just less nervous about what is being done to them.

What preparation do I need to do?

  • Ultrasounds require a 12-hour fast. This means no breakfast on the morning of the ultrasound.
  • Fasting is important so that the food in the stomach or intestines do not interfere with the viewing of the other organs.

When can my pet go home?

  • In most situations, your pet can go home right away but can be left here for the day depending on the owner’s schedule.
  • Most comprehensive ultrasounds take one hour to perform and a veterinarian will call you once it is completed.

What happens after the ultrasound?

  • The images and videos will be immediately forward to a veterinary specialist who will send a detailed report back, typically the next day. Your veterinarian will contact you to discuss the results and treatment plan.

I am not a regular client of your clinic; can my pet come for an ultrasound?

  • Yes. We have arrangements with neighbouring veterinary clinics and regularly provide ultrasounds for their patients on a referral basis. The ultrasound report will be sent to your primary veterinarian and they will continue the necessary care for your pet.

An ultrasound is a non-invasive diagnostic option. Contact Lomsnes Veterinary Hospital at 403-342-6040 to book your appointment.

Written by Dr. Hayley Biederbeck