There are many reasons as to why your beloved pet may need an ultrasound. Perhaps you suspect your pet may be pregnant, or maybe your vet has ordered an ultrasound to check for a tumor. Regardless, ultrasounds are a relatively common veterinary procedure. Still, there are some things you should be aware of as a pet owner before the day of the appointment to ensure everything goes as smoothly as possible for all involved.
You May Need to Fast Your Pet
Your vet may request that you fast your pet for a day or so before the appointment. This is done to reduce the amount of gas in the stomach and intestines, which can otherwise inhibit the vet from seeing a clear image.
A Section of Fur Will Need to Be Shaved
Radio waves have a hard time traveling through fur, so ultrasounds are most effective and accurate when done on bare skin. This means that a small section of your pet's fur may need to be shaved away prior to performing the ultrasound. A vet technician will be the one to perform this and will let you know if this is the case.
Sometimes, Sedation Becomes Necessary
The environment where pet ultrasounds are done is generally calm and relaxing (your pet simply lies down in a dark room). However, for pets who suffer from anxiety, it may be necessary to sedate them until the procedure is over with. Otherwise, anxiety can cause heavy panting, which leads to excess gas in the stomach and intestines (thus making it difficult to obtain a quality image).
You May Need to Stay Out of the Room
Talk to your vet office ahead of time if you're concerned about being separated from your pet while the ultrasound takes place. In most cases, they will ask you to stay out of the room due to space constraints. However, you may be able to make a special request, especially if you think your presence will be calming for your pet.
Your Vet Will Discuss Results With You
Your pet's ultrasound images should be readily available to you immediately after the veterinary ultrasound is performed. At this time, your vet should review the images with you and discuss any potential results. Keep in mind that further testing may be necessary, especially if your vet found a tumor that will need to be biopsied to determine whether it's benign or not.