Abdominal ultrasound is a diagnostic technique that is widely used by veterinarians nowadays. It is a quick and non-invasive way of investigating a host of different health conditions. Vital organs in the abdominal region are studied via an abdominal ultrasound. The list of organs includes the liver, spleen, stomach, intestines, kidneys, bladder, uterus and prostate gland.
An abdominal ultrasound is often prescribed for dogs showing symptoms of gastrointestinal disorder such as vomiting, diarrhea and urinating blood. It can also be helpful in determining the health of the reproductive organs. An abdominal ultrasound can also confirm a pregnancy. It allows to detect a pregnancy as early as 18 days post-ovulation.
The sound waves emitted by an ultrasound machine allow internal organs to become visible. This makes it easy to detect changes in the shape, size, tissue density, internal structure, and position of organs. It can also identify most abdominal masses or tumors, abdominal fluid, and abnormal lymph nodes. In some cases, additional diagnostic procedures such as endoscopy or contrast X-ray with barium will be needed to diagnose an intra-abdominal problem.
In order to perform an abdominal ultrasound, the hair of the dog is shaved to prevent it from blocking the waves. A special gel is applied to the area. A probe (transducer) is attached to the ultrasound machine. The probe is moved on the targeted area to examine the regions of interest. Ultrasound waves that are transmitted from the probe are either absorbed or echo back from internal organs. Based on how many sound waves are absorbed or reflected, an image of the internal organs is displayed on a computer screen.
A great advantage of abdominal ultrasound for dogs is that it allows the veterinarian to see how the organ is functioning in real time. It is an economical and painless procedure that requires little or no sedation.