Rocky Creek Veterinary Hospital is proud to announce that we have added ULTRASOUND to our wide range of diagnostic procedures! Here are a few FAQs about ultrasound:
Q: What is the benefit of ultrasound?
A: Ultrasound offers a variety of benefits without risk involved. It is one of the least invasive tools we have in our arsenal. With ultrasound, we are able to see the structures and architecture of internal body organ systems. For instance, we are able to ultrasound the abdomen to check for any organ enlargement, masses, congenital abnormalities, cancer staging, pregnancy diagnosis, neonatal counts, and MUCH MORE! We can also ultrasound the heart to diagnose and monitor the progression of heart disease!
Another benefit is the ability to perform minimally invasive biopsies and aspirates of internal tissues. For example, we could lightly sedate your pet (not under full anesthesia) and perform these diagnostic tests! This is ideal for patients with complicating factors, such as advanced age or illness.
Q: How does ultrasound work?
A: Ultrasound uses ultrasonic sound waves to image the internal architecture of an organ or tissue; this is similar to when radiographic images (x-rays) are performed, but with no exposure to radiation. In some cases, the first step may be to palpate abdominal organ enlargement on the physical exam. Next, a radiograph would be able to show a mass in the abdomen—but specific location and size would be difficult to determine without ultrasound. We may have a good idea without it, but WITH an ultrasound we can actually measure down to the millimeter the size of a mass or organ (which allow us to more closely monitor the progression of a disease or illness).
Q: Which pets need an ultrasound?
A: An ultrasound is a valuable step in helping us diagnose what is wrong with your pet. It allows us to monitor progression of certain diseases and our therapy for those diseases. Here is brief list of how ultrasound can aid you and your pet’s health:
Echocardiogram (ultrasound of the heart): allows us to evaluate overall cardiac health and function. We are able to see how each heart valve is working and how well the heart itself is contracting!
Pregnancy: we are able to not only perform estimates to the number of offspring but also evaluate fetal health!
Metabolic Diseases: certain disease processes such as diabetes, Cushing’s, liver and kidney disease, etc. can be monitored and diagnosed via ultrasound!
Internal Masses: confirmation of abdominal masses with confidence which organ they are originating from.
Older pets: We suggest that dogs over 7 years of age and cats over 8 years of age have an abdominal ultrasound screening every other year. This allows us to “catch” disease early, which in turn allows us to potentially prolong your pet’s life.
Q: Are certain breeds more prone to diseases that can be caught early by ultrasound?
A: Yes. Purebred dogs such as Boxers, Cavalier King Charles Spaniels and Doberman Pinschers are prone to underlying and/or hereditary heart disease. The good news is, Dr. Capra recently completed an extensive training program in echocardiograms through the Academy of Veterinary Imaging at Sound Eklin Imaging Center in Dallas, Texas. This training provided the skills used to screen for signs of heart abnormalities with the use of ultrasound.
Q: How much does an ultrasound cost?
A: Depending on what procedure is needed, the cost may vary. We will be happy to discuss your pet’s health and how ultrasound can benefit them! Please call us for an estimate @ 864-234-4600.