Ultrasound is a non-invasive painless imaging procedure that is based on the same principals as sonar that is used by submarines, dolphins and whales. A probe, called a transducer, sends sound waves and records the echoes of those waves when they travel back to the transducer. These echoes are sent to and visualized on a computer in real time. These live images can be recorded in motion or they can be captured as still images.
The ultrasound combines information such as movement, softness or hardness of tissue and velocity of blood flow to get a more complete sense of your pet’s internal organs. These images create information maps that allow our veterinarians to see an in-depth view of your pet’s organs; this can be crucial to the comprehensive diagnosis of disease.
An ultrasound can also be used to more precisely obtain samples from inside the body. Think about this: perhaps your dog is sick and your vet takes x-rays, and a mass is found in the abdomen. Instead of sedating your dog or cat or having to take them to surgery to investigate the mass what if you can simply have an ultrasound! Our internal medicine doctor can locate the mass and accurately identify what organ the mass is affecting. The ultrasound can also assist the veterinarian in real time to obtain a fine needle aspirate or a biopsy sample from the mass. Ultrasound guided biopsies are used as a minimally invasive way to obtain samples of diseased organs while avoiding sensitive and fragile structures. Samples can then be looked at microscopically to determine the next best step for your pet. The best part is that your pet got a belly rub while the sample was taken, so he didn’t even notice!
Utilizing a scope is a great nonsurgical method of allowing us to view the esophagus, stomach, intestines and gastrointestinal tract. It is performed with a fiber optic instrument that can capture high quality images. We utilize a veterinary internal medicine specialist in our hospital when a pet needs an endoscopic procedure. Using a scope allows the doctors at the Animal Hospital of Northwood to obtain biopsy samples to diagnose your pet with various diseases. Finding the cause of a problem your pet is having allows them to be treated appropriately and in turn improves their quality of life!