Pet Ultrasounds: What You Need to Know

A small black Pit Bull mix stares into the camera. A nurse stands behind him petting him.

What is an ultrasound?

An ultrasound is a diagnostic imaging technique used in veterinary medicine to visualize a pet’s internal structures and organs. It utilizes high-frequency sound waves to produce real-time images of the body’s tissues and organs. Ultrasound imaging is non-invasive and does not involve the use of radiation, making it safe for both pets and humans.

Why does my pet need an ultrasound?

An ultrasound provides valuable information about the health and condition of various organs, including the heart, liver, kidneys, bladder, reproductive organs, and gastrointestinal tract. It can help veterinarians identify abnormalities such as tumors, cysts, foreign objects, fluid accumulation, or changes in organ size, shape, or texture.

Will my pet need sedation?

It depends on the type of ultrasound being performed and your pet’s temperament.

Will my pet’s fur be shaved?

Usually, yes, in order to get the best results, your pet’s fur will be shaved in the ultrasound area.

Ultrasound Procedure

Before the procedure, our veterinary team will perform a thorough examination to ensure that your pet is a good candidate for ultrasound. During this examination, our team will also evaluate whether or not your pet will need sedation.

If sedation is required, your pet’s veterinarian will formulate a sedation plan tailored to your pet.

The veterinarian will then perform the ultrasound. Some information may be immediately available. However, in some cases, the images will be submitted to an outside specialist, and a full report will be completed later.

Caring for Your Pet After an Ultrasound

If your pet was sedated, medications may take 24 to 48 hours to wear off.

  • Your pet may be groggy or whiny during this time.
  • Keep your pet confined in a secure, quiet, and comfortable space. We recommend a crate or a small room.
  • Isolate them from other pets and children while recovering.

Rare but Serious Complications

While sedation is generally considered safe for pets, there can be complications and risks associated with its use.

Please contact Anicira, your primary care veterinarian, or an emergency clinic if any of the following occur:

  • Pale gums
  • Severe pain, depression or weakness
  • Vomiting or Diarrhea
  • Labored breathing
  • Decreased appetite for more than 24 hours
  • Lethargy lasting more than 24 hours