Ultrasound imaging is non-invasive, and according to numerous published studies through the years, carries minimal-to-no documentable risk to the patient.
Answers to some common questions are provided below.
What is an ultrasound exam?
Ultrasound exams, otherwise known as sonograms, are medical studies performed on a variety of organs using high-frequency sound waves to generate images on a computer screen.
Medical ultrasound may be used to look at abnormalities of the heart (echocardiography), abdomen (abdominal ultrasonography), thyroids, parathyroids, masses, brain, muscles, tendons, etc.
Who is performing my pet's ultrasound exam?
Dr. Munsell personally performs ALL ultrasound exams. Your pet will receive the specialty attention you have requested.
Does my pet need to be fasted?
Medium-to-large amounts of food in the stomach limit what we can see in the cranial abdomen with abdominal ultrasound (liver, blood vessels, stomach wall, regional lymph nodes, pancreas, etc.). Food in the stomach is also contraindicated for pets who may be sedated or anesthetized, as it leads to a risk for aspiration pneumonia.
Thus, we ask that most pets be fasted 8-12 hours prior to the time of their ultrasound exams (abdominal and echocardiography). Fasting restrictions do NOT apply to diabetic animals, exceptionally young animals, and those prone to hypoglycemia. Still, we ask that those animals be fed small, frequent amounts rather than single, large meals prior to their ultrasound exams.
Water does not need to be withheld in most cases.
Please ask your veterinarian for specific fasting recommendations when having your pet scheduled for his or her ultrasound exam.
Will my pet be shaved for the procedure?
For most animals, the answer is, "Yes." For those undergoing procedures such as organ aspirates or biopsies, the answer is, "Definitely yes," in order to create a sterile field.
Ultrasound physics do not allow us to see through air/gas. Microbubbles trapped in the hair can hamper image quality to the point of being non-diagnostic.
For echocardiography, focal areas of the chest will be shaved. For abdominal ultrasound, larger areas on the abdomen will be shaved.
For show animals, animals with chronic skin conditions / hair loss, hunting animals and those with fine, short hair, exceptions can and may be made.
Please consult with your veterinarian if you are concerned about your pet being shaved for the procedure.
Will the ultrasound exam be painful or extremely stressful for my pet?
Using Fear Free principles and gentle, AVMA-approved restraint techniques, your pet will be treated with the utmost care and concern for its physical, mental and emotional well-being. Pets are restrained on their sides or backs using clean pads, towels and blankets for their exams.
Any appreciable signs of pain are documented, and the animal is handled respectfully. When a pet is exceptionally anxious or painful, a sedative (with pain medication as needed) is typically recommended.
Please advise your veterinarian of any known pain or behavioral / anxiety issues prior to the exam. We will do our best to accommodate those needs as if the pets were our own.
When will I know the results of my pet's ultrasound exam?
Studies are typically reported on-site immediately following the exam, and the report is given directly to your veterinarian for inclusion in the hospital medical records. Pertinent findings and diganoses are discussed with the attending doctor. Recommendations are also made at that time.
Typically, your veterinarian will then discuss all findings and recommendations directly with you.
May I obtain copies of the ultrasound images and reports?
Yes, as requested.
Does Infinity Veterinary Imaging participate in OFA heart screening and certification?
Typically, no, due to the stringent requirements mandated by the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals. OFA heart screening and certification is best performed by a board-certified veterinary cardiologist.