What if we could actually look inside your pet during one of our visits? At BetterVet we are very proud to offer in-home veterinary ultrasonography for your cat or dog in the comfort of your own home. Don’t go anywhere, heck don’t even get off your sofa, we will come to you!
Recent advances in ultrasound technology minimizing the footprint, improving the image resolution and functionality of today’s point of care ultrasound machines means we can turn up on your doorstep with a simple backpack full of not so simple technology. This means we can perform a full ultrasound on your pet and your pet doesn’t even need to leave his or her bed!
But What is Ultrasound?
Ultrasound is a non-invasive (no radiation) diagnostic procedure that works by utilizing sound wave technology. The sound waves are produced by applying a voltage across tiny crystals in the head of a probe (the little handheld devices you are used to seeing used during human pregnancy scans) which causes the crystals to vibrate resulting in the production of sound waves. These non-harmful sound waves penetrate the body undetected by the patient and are absorbed or reflected by the organs/s within the body cavity being examined (either chest or abdomen). The probe receives the returned waves and converts them into an electrical signal which we then see as an image on the screen that we can identify as individual parts of an organ/s.
Why does my pet need an ultrasound?
There are 2 types of US exams: focused exams and full exams. Focused exams focus on smaller areas such as one organ/s or focal spots. It is mostly used in emergency situations when a quick answer is needed or when a full examination is not required. This type of handheld ultrasound can be used for ultrasound-guided samples too. A full ultrasound examines a whole body cavity in detail (chest, abdomen) and not only examines the organs but also their vasculature and lymph nodes too. It is slightly more time-consuming but has the ability to use Doppler to measure the speed and pressure of the blood in the vessels and the heart.
Here is a list of some of the reasons why we would recommend an ultrasound:
Chronic vomiting, diarrhea, urinating too much, drinking too much, investigation of heart murmurs, or just ain’t doing right —to list a few.
Advantages of an ultrasound performed by your BetterVet vet.
As pet owners, we want a procedure that is non-invasive, in a comfortable setting, and at a reasonable price that leads to an accurate diagnosis and solid consistent answers. We at BetterVet want that, too. Therefore, as a progressive innovative practice, we have adopted ultrasound protocols that are designed to maximize efficiency by obtaining all the standard views plus extras, which minimize the need for a revisit and encourage a rapid diagnosis. We utilize every possibility on day one. Not only that but we also work with board-certified radiologists, cardiologists, and internal medicine specialists without your pet ever needing to leave the comfort of your home.
How do I prepare my pet for ultrasound?
Your dog or cat will need to be fasted for ideally 12 hours before a scan. This allows for better images without artifacts from food in the stomach or gas in the intestines, and also allows us to sedate if necessary. We will need to clip the hair which we then soak with water or alcohol and apply coupling gel to minimize air between the probe and the skin- this gives us the best image. For focused exams we do not normally need to clip the hair, we simply part the hair in the area to be examined and apply either water or alcohol, and use coupling gel.
What to expect during the scan?
Your pet will usually stay lying on its right side for the entire scan, either on the floor or on a raised bed, with a Fear Free® trained, knowledgeable nurse reassuring and maintaining the recumbent position while your veterinarian performs the scan. Sometimes our pets like to roll onto their backs for more belly rubs as they are so relaxed, but that’s ok! Once the scan is over, your dog can resume normal life, go for a walk, chase a ball or even just stay right there—we will see ourselves out!
All images are saved onto our state-of-the-art portable ultrasound machine, before being uploaded to our secure database later the same day and reviewed by your ultrasound-trained veterinarian. The images may also be reviewed by a board-certified specialist, too. You should expect your pet’s ultrasound results within 24-48 hours.
If you have concerns regarding your pet’s health, please contact us and we can discuss whether ultrasound is the next best step for your pet!