William R. Pritchard Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital

Large Animal Ultrasound

Large Animal Ultrasound - Frequently Asked Questions

How do I schedule an ultrasound appointment?
The LA Ultrasound Service does not function as a primary care service, therefore, horses generally undergo an ultrasound exam after being evaluated by a primary care service, such as the Equine Lameness (Surgery) or Equine Medicine Service. Specific ultrasound appointments for such cases are not generally made, as it is difficult to predict when a lameness evaluation will be completed, especially in horses with complex or multiple limb lameness. In general, cases are seen on a first come, first serve basis throughout the day, although outpatients, recheck ultrasound & emergency exams are given priority.

What if my veterinarian has already worked up my horse and I just need an ultrasound exam?
Your horse may qualify for an ultrasound consultation appointment which are available on a limited basis. These are referral appointments and are scheduled by your veterinarian after he or she has contacted either Dr. Whitcomb or Dr. Vaughan to determine if a consultation appointment is the best option for your horse. If so, you will be contacted by either your veterinarian or the LAC admissions desk to schedule an appointment. As these appointments are designed solely as a consultation service, a lameness exam or additional diagnostics cannot be performed. If it is anticipated that further diagnostics may be necessary, the appointment should be scheduled through our lameness service.

What will ultrasound show that radiographs do not?
In general, radiography (x-rays) is used to evaluate bony abnormalities, and ultrasound is used to evaluate soft tissue structures such as tendons and ligaments. Although ultrasound does provide information about the surface of bony structures, it cannot penetrate bone. Many horses require both imaging procedures to adequately evaluate all bone and soft tissue structures in a region of interest.