Ultrasound is a safe, non-invasive, valuable diagnostic tool that provides a glimpse into your cat’s internal organs. Ultrasound emits high frequency sound waves that bounce off internal tissues and get reflected back to produce an image viewed on a screen.
Ultrasound does not produce radiation the way an x-ray does, however it does require that your cat stay still for a longer period of time in order for the ultrasonographer to scan the areas of interest.
We offer in-house ultrasonography of the abdomen (belly). In order to prepare for ultrasound, your cat’s belly needs to be shaved so that the ultrasound probe can make direct contact with the skin to provide high quality images. Some patients will require a mild sedative for the procedure for calming. This allows for more a efficient and better scanning experience. Once the images are taken, they may be sent to a specialist for further review.
Why would my vet recommend an X-ray, ultrasound or both?
Both modes of imaging have their place, and sometimes both are necessary. X-rays are helpful to see a broad overview of a portion of the patient’s body, just as one would look out at a forest and see the different sizes, shapes, placement and types of trees:
X-rays allow us to see the organs, their shape, and if anything is out of place or present that shouldn’t be. It helps us to hone in on a problem. Ultrasound lets us see finer details, like seeing a tree up close to inspect its bark and leaves:
Ultrasound gives intricate detail of the organ or system of interest.
Case: feline patient showing enlarged left kidney, and bloodwork indicating compromised kidney function. Mineralization or urolith visible in ureter leading from kidney.
Ultrasound image of a normal kidney compared to the patient with the blocked ureter, which has compromised the kidney.