To echo or not to echo? That is the question! A lot of vets consider diagnostic imaging equipment to be expensive and unnecessary for our furry friends. However, those that use ultrasound see the obvious difference since it facilitates the daily work of the doctor, and most importantly, helps to diagnose our pets more accurately and treat them accordingly.
Ultrasound is a non-invasive way to diagnose the patient, it has no side-effects, is actually cheaper and saves time compared to other imaging modalities for both serious cases and when minor health issues come up. If the animal swallows something that can harm its inner organs, the vet can immediately echo the patient and identify what kind of treatment it needs. Whereas, without the ultrasound the veterinarian would have to feel the abdomen of the pet, try to approximately locate the object without any precision and, as a result, might end up giving the wrong treatment. Nobody wants that.
It can be helpful in diagnosing a pet's heart problem. Echo cardiology refers to the imaging of the heart with ultrasound. This is almost an indispensable method of detecting certain types of heart diseases. Ultrasound can be useful in seeing the heart functioning in real time and if any abnormalities exist. You can see if the heart valve does not open and close properly, thus providing the pet with the right treatment. One of the key things here is to use the right ultrasound gel with no dyes or added chemicals to get the best image possible.
Ultrasound can be used to find out if a tumor is present. This modality has the advantage of a cost effective solution with NO radiation. It can help in detection of hepatic metastases and estimation of the tumor's size. Cancer of the spleen can be detected at early stages and thus save the pet’s life.
Detecting bladder stones - Another common problem animals face is bladder stones. They can often be missed on an X-ray and the radiation can be harmful, however, ultrasound will detect them if present with no harm done to the patient.
Cats often suffer from liver fat that can be fatal for the animal. Ultrasound can be used to diagnose this illness and save a cat’s life.
In addition, if the animal’s abdomen is swollen, it can indicate a number of diseases. An ultrasound will help in diagnosing the patient with a swollen belly. Pancreatitis can be confirmed by an ultrasound and determine the severity of the disease. Swollen prostate, which can be often found among older male dogs, can be diagnosed with an ultrasound machine.
According to Dr. Sullivan (Medical director of the Medical District Veterinary Clinic at Illinois, certified in small animal ultrasound), ultrasound equipment betters the quality of daily work of veterinarians in terms of diagnosis and care.
All in all, ultrasound is considered the most practical among imaging modalities in veterinary. It’s efficacious, painless, portable and cost-effective if properly maintained and disinfected with equipment safe sono wipes. It can be used to monitor the abdominal organs, cardiovascular system and is helpful in diagnosing most internal diseases.