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What Happens During Your Dog's Ultrasound

Updated on November 16, 2009

It could happen that at some point of time in your dog's life, your veterinarian may perform a physical and then order an ultrasound to confirm or rule out a possible condition. An ultrasound (often referred to as sonogram) is a non- invasive and non-painful procedure that allows the veterinarian to take a look at internal organs.

An abdominal ultrasound is often prescribed for dogs that are exhibiting symptoms of gastro-intestinal distress such as vomiting and diarrhea. It may also be helpful to evaluate the health of the urinary system and reproductive organs.

Indeed, an abdominal ultrasound may also rule out or confirm a pregnancy. A pregnancy can be detected as early as 18 days post-ovulation. Around day 23 the puppy's heart beats may be even heard.

Organs such as heart, liver, spleen, kidneys, bladder, intestines, prostate gland can be easily evaluated thanks to an ultrasound. It all happens courtesy of the sound waves emitted by an ultrasound machine that allows internal organs to become visable. The veterinarian therefore, will be able to see the organ's shape, size, density and position so that any abnormalities will be evident.

A great advantage of ultrasound machines is the fact that veterinarians may be also able to see how the organ is also functioning in real time. For instance, an ultrasound of the heart (better known as an echo-cardiogram) will allow the veterinarian to visualize the chambers and valves of the heart in action, as they are happening. It is a great diagnostic test, therefore for various heart related conditions such as heart murmurs.

In order to perform  an ultrasound, the dog must be prepped. Hair will be shaved to prevent it from blocking the waves. A special gel is applied to the area. After ward, a hand held probe is placed on the skin and moved about so to deliver images of the internal organs on a special computer screen. The whole procedure typically lasts between 20 to 60 minutes.

The procedure is quite effective in delivering information and helping in diagnostics, however, it may be quite costly, averaging between $300 and $500 dollars. However, an ultrasound may be well worth the price because it could reveal an underlying condition that could not be detected with x-rays only.

Not all veterinary clinics perform ultrasounds. This is mostly attributed to the fact that such equipment requires space (even though there are more and more portable ultrasounds now) and also specialized skills. Not to mention the fact, that such equipment may be quite costly.

A Dog Ultrasound in Action


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    • Images of Sound profile image

      Images of Sound 8 years ago from

      I have done many veterinary ultrasounds. You may find my piece on "Cross Species Sonography" in my Hub Page.