If you have ever had a sick pet, you likely know how valuable ultrasound technology can be. We can look for changes in the abdominal organs, see abnormal valves in the heart, evaluate for foreign objects, and get a real time image of a tissue we are trying to sample with a needle. The ultrasound may just be one of our favorite tools in the hospital.
The veterinary staff at Carriage Hills Animal Hospital wants our pet owners to appreciate the ultrasound for more than just being a diagnostic tool, though. Did you know that wellness ultrasound for pets can be just as incredible?
The Idea of Screening
Screening tests are tests that are conducting in seemingly well patients with the intent of identifying increased risk factors for or the presence of problems before they are symptomatic.
You are probably familiar with this concept when it comes to blood testing. We often perform screening labs in pets prior to anesthesia or as they age in order to evaluate systemic health.
We also screen fecal specimens for internal parasites and blood for heartworm disease. After all, you wouldn’t want to wait until your pet is in heart failure to know that something needs to be done!
Screening tests allow us to monitor for subtle changes that alert us to further action or monitoring, often resulting in better outcomes for the patient. Wellness ultrasound in pets is no different.
Wellness Ultrasound For Pets
Ultrasound is a pretty neat tool. It allows us to get a real time image of what is happening inside of your pet. We are also able to see details that radiographs (X-ray) just don’t provide.
Ultrasound evaluation is often part of a diagnostic workup in a pet who is sick or exhibiting signs of a problem. We are finding more and more ways to use it, though, to screen pets who don’t appear to be ill at all.
There are two main ways we might utilize this technology as part of a pet wellness program:
A pure screening tool — We can utilize ultrasound without any other indication to pick up things that might otherwise go unnoticed. A wellness ultrasound for pets might pick up a small bladder stone, abnormal changes in the gallbladder, a nodule of concern, or an area of thickened intestine that otherwise might not be observed. This can allow for early diagnosis and treatment of many problems, including cancer in pets.
To investigate further — Sometimes other wellness screening tests need follow up. For instance, if we run blood tests on your healthy pet only to find that his liver values are abnormally high, ultrasound is often the best way to further investigate what might be causing this. Likewise, if we find microscopic blood in the urine, we may recommend ultrasound to look for stones or masses in the urinary bladder. The ultrasound is our friend when it comes to getting a good look at your pet’s insides.
Wellness testing is a very important part of doing everything possible to keep your beloved pet healthy for a long time to come. Ultrasound screening can be a big piece of the puzzle when it comes to doing better at preventing, diagnosing, and treating disease conditions. Call us to get started providing the best wellness care for your pet. We are your partners in keeping your furry friend healthy, and will get you off to a great start.