Alongside X-rays and blood tests, ultrasonography is one of our essential diagnostic tools. Ultrasound works by passing waves through the body and ‘listening’ to the echoes. The echoes are reflected by differing densities within the body and the echoes appear as an image on a screen. Ultrasound is very useful for imaging soft tissues like the heart, liver, kidneys, spleen, bladder, prostate gland, eyes and uterus.
The procedure is non-invasive, generally requires no sedation or anaesthesia and has no known risks. The only preparation needed is to shave the skin over the area to be scanned and to apply some gel so that the probe makes a good contact.
Some of the problems we can check for include kidney disease, bladder stones, uterine infections (pyometras), liver disease, prostatic problems, detection of internal bleeding and the investigation of cancer. It is also very useful for the diagnosis of pregnancy from 28 days days after mating.
Most ultrasound machines produce static images whereas Doppler Ultrasound equipment produces moving images which is extremely useful when diagnosing issues with the heart and bowels.