As in human ultrasound imaging, this technique uses a lubricating gel and probe that passes over the abdomen and chest regions of the patient to assess soft tissues and detect diseases, cancers, and pregnancy. Unlike X-Rays, ultrasound uses sound waves to penetrate tissues, producing real-time images/videos of the body cavity or organ systems and their functioning.
When the heart is the target of study, it is called an echocardiogram or echo. The series of images obtained from an echo can be used to interpret a physical exam finding of a heart murmur or rhythm disturbance, stage cardiac disease, or uncover a congenital defect of the heart.
The ultrasound can also be used to explore other areas of the body to aid in:
- A Needle-guided Sample Collection
- Detecting Organ Disease (such as liver, kidney, or bladder)
- Tumor/Mass Detection
Rarely does an ultrasound procedure itself require sedation as it is non-invasive and painless. When an ultrasound is performed, a small target area of hair may be shaved in order to enhance the contact between the probe and the skin. These decisions are discussed with you ahead of time to insure the best plan for you and your pet.
Dr. Kevin Shuler has advanced training in echocardiology and ultrasonography. In addition, we do consult with Board Certified cardiologists and internists through the local referral centers of Veterinary Medical Care or Charleston Veterinary Referral Center.
For your convenience and ours, we offer two options to our patients undergoing ultrasound procedures. You may choose to drop off your pet or wait while we take, process, and interpret the images.