Veterinary Ultrasound: A look inside to see what ails your pet

We can all see how beautiful your pet is on the outside :o) but when he or she is not feeling well, what do things look like on the inside? X-rays are great for bone and gas structures (like lung), but when it comes to soft tissue, nothing can beat the diagnostic superiority of ultrasound. Echo (sound) waves are used to penetrate water (which is what soft tissue mostly contains). These sound waves bounce off of the tissue and return to the operator’s probe. Depending on the type of tissue will determine how fast the sound waves return to the probe. The varying speed of echo wave return is what creates the various levels of gray and ultimately the image on the screen. Fascinating! And really useful.

We have been open in Concord for just a little over 1 week and each serious case that came through our doors experienced life-saving, valuable information based on ultrasound. Each required immediate surgery and are doing well.

Below are a few cases with photos:

A middle-aged hound dog was referred by his veterinarian for ultrasound out of concern for an abdominal mass. The pet had been vomiting for a few days and there was concern that cancer was the cause for the vomiting. However, after a thorough exam of the abdomen, the ultrasound demonstrated foreign material (likely a sock) within the upper part of the intestine. The pet was taken to surgery and a long section of very smelly fabric was removed!

The patient is being prepped for surgery.

The patient is being prepped for surgery.

A little dog presented for vomiting multiple times within a 12 hour period. Although looking pretty good in the exam room, 8-9 events of vomiting is a lot and the owner was very concerned. Ultrasound was pursued and it was immediately apparent that the gallbladder was leaking. The patient was taken to surgery and the leaking gallbladder was found to be barely attached at its base! Removal of the gallbladder proved to be life-saving.

This patient's gallbladder was causing pain and vomiting.

This patient’s gallbladder was causing pain and vomiting.

This morning, we were presented with a lovely middle-aged dog that had been vomiting and not feeling well for about 3 days. Although she did not have a fever (surprising) and no discharge from under her tail (even more surprising!), the abdominal ultrasound demonstrated an enormous uterus full of infection and ready to rupture. No time was wasted. She was treated for shock and whisked into the surgery suite. Take a look at this amazing structure — which weighed 7 pounds 14 ounces! (Cover your eyes if you are squeamish.)

This is pyometra, a very infected uterus. Ready to break open!

This is pyometra, a very infected uterus. Ready to break open!


Stay tuned if you find ultrasound interesting. We will post more interesting cases soon!

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