Ultrasonography or ultrasound examinations are becoming an essential part of veterinary medicine.
What is an Ultrasound?
Very high frequency sound waves are emitted by a transducer placed on the body wall. Echoes reflected back from the structures in the body are picked up by the same transducer and converted to various visual patterns by computer. With the great advantages made in computer science over the last few years ultrasound machines have become highly accurate in assisting diagnosis of many conditions
After processing by the ultrasound computer the echoes are usually displayed on a television type monitor during the examination and may be recorded electronically as instant pictures or recorded on video tape.
The pictures can either be two dimensional (real time or B-Mode ultrasound) or show a linear pattern as in the case of heart motion (m mode). There is no discomfort for the animal during these examinations although areas of hair may have to be clipped and coupling jelly applied between the transducer and the body wall.
Use of Ultrasound in Pets
Many of the internal organs can be scanned including liver, kidneys, bowel, spleen etc. but two areas of increasing importance are ultrasonography for pregnancy diagnosis which can be carried out at around 30 days from mating and also cardiac examination when the actual anatomy of the heart may be evaluated to demonstrate any abnormalities in the muscular walls or the valves of the heart and in addition, accurate measurements of heart size can be made.