Skip to Main Content
Ask About Financing

Everything about ultrasound for cats & dogs

Everything about ultrasound for cats & dogs

Did your vet suggest getting an ultrasound for your furry friend? Learn more about this procedure and how it can benefit your pet from our vets in Mankato.

What is a veterinary ultrasound?

As a pet owner, you may know that your furry friend can sometimes get into trouble or suffer from health problems. However, there's a safe and non-invasive way to diagnose some of these conditions called ultrasounds.

This technology uses sound waves to create an image of your pet's internal structures, and it can help your veterinarian detect issues like pericardial effusion or hemoabdomen.

Why does my pet need an ultrasound?

Our veterinarians at River Hills Pet Care Hospital use ultrasounds and other diagnostic tools to accurately diagnose your dogs and cats' medical issues, which helps in providing effective treatment.

Ultrasound is a non-invasive tool that allows the vet to see the architecture of your pet's organs and differentiate soft tissue masses, foreign bodies, and fluid from one another.

It is painless and safe for your furry friend. Ultrasound is especially useful in detecting conditions such as bladder stones, tumors, and fluid accumulation in the abdomen.

Heart Conditions

If your furry friend has a heart problem, the vet may suggest an echocardiogram to determine if they need medication for their heart.

Examination of Soft Tissues

An ultrasound can be used to examine almost all of the body's soft tissues to evaluate:

  • Fetal viability and development
  • Thyroid glands
  • Tendons
  • Ligaments
  • Eyes

If abnormal tissue is discovered during the ultrasound, a vet may be able to collect tissue samples.

How are samples collected?

These methods are typically used to collect samples:

  • Tri-Cut biopsies
  • Ultrasound-guided fine needle aspiration

Your dog may need to be sedated with these methods. Biopsies can be performed with ultrasound imaging, in a less invasive manner than surgery would entail.

Abnormal Blood or Urine Test Results

Your vet may suggest an abdominal ultrasound if your dog's blood or urine tests show any irregularities. This test can show the inside of your dog's body, including organs like the spleen, kidneys, and bladder, to identify the cause of the abnormality. 

Types of Ultrasounds

Your vet may perform one of these two types of ultrasounds:


Echocardiograms are tests that allow us to carefully check your pet's heart and the surrounding structures, like the pericardial sac, to make sure everything is working as it should. If there is a problem with your pet's heart, an echocardiogram can help your vet identify the issue.

While these ultrasounds are very detailed and painless, they do require a lot of calculations and measurements. Your vet may suggest an echocardiogram if your pet is showing signs of heart disease or has recently been diagnosed with a heart murmur.

Emergency Ultrasounds

During emergencies, ultrasounds are typically used to quickly examine the abdomen and chest for signs of serious internal bleeding or pneumothorax. These conditions can occur suddenly, so prompt identification is crucial. By using emergency ultrasounds, healthcare professionals can swiftly diagnose the issue and create an appropriate treatment strategy.

How should I prepare for a veterinary ultrasound?

Before your pet's ultrasound appointment, talk to your vet about how to prepare. For abdominal ultrasounds, your pet may need to avoid food and water for 8 to 12 hours. Your vet will shave the area being examined to get clear images.

While most pets can stay still during the ultrasound, some may require sedation. If biopsies are needed, your pet may need a heavy sedative or short-acting anesthetic to relax and prevent complications. Your veterinarian will tell you if this is needed.

When will I find out the results of the examination?

Our veterinarians can perform real-time ultrasounds, allowing us to obtain almost immediate results. However, in certain situations, the ultrasound images may need to be sent to a veterinary radiologist for further consultation. If this happens, receiving the final results may take a few days.

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet..

Are you curious about your pet's upcoming ultrasound or wondering about our imaging services at River Hills Pet Care Hospital? Our veterinarian in Mankato is available to answer your questions and set up a consultation. Contact us today!

Compassionate Veterinary Care

At River Hills Pet Care Hospital our experienced vets are passionate about improving the health of Mankato companion animals. Get in touch today to book your pet's appointment.

Contact Us

(507) 388-4500 Contact