Ultrasound

Photo: Ultrasound

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Ultrasound imaging, also called ultrasound scanning or sonography, involves exposing part of the body to high-frequency sound waves to produce pictures of the inside of the body. Ultrasound exams do not use ionizing radiation (x-ray). Because ultrasound images are captured in real-time, they can show the structure and movement of the body's internal organs, as well as blood flowing through blood vessels. Ultrasound imaging can be performed using minimal restraint or sedation.

Veterinarians often use ultrasound to guide a small needle to diseased areas of tissue for biopsy. Abdominal ultrasound imaging is performed to evaluate the:

  • kidneys
  • liver
  • gallbladder
  • pancreas
  • spleen
  • blood vessels of the abdomen

Ultrasound is used to help diagnose a variety of conditions, such as:

  • abdominal pain
  • pancreatitis
  • enlarged abdominal organ
  • stones in the kidney or bladder
  • portosystemic shunts
  • needle biopsies in which needles are used to extract a sample of cells from organs for laboratory testing.