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Ultrasound Examination in Cats

If your cat's veterinarian has recommended an ultrasound, you may be feeling concerned. In this post, our Clarksville vets will provide information to help you understand what to expect during a cat ultrasound.

Our beloved furry pets can be vulnerable to a variety of illnesses and conditions, such as tumors, cysts, or the ingestion of foreign objects that can cause internal blockages.

Ultrasounds are a diagnostic imaging technique that uses sound waves to produce real-time images of your cat's internal organs.

They can be used to quickly and non-invasively diagnose and assess a range of internal issues in your pet. Ultrasounds can also help monitor your pet's pregnancy and ensure that everything is progressing as it should be.

Reasons Your Pet May Need An Ultrasound

Our veterinary diagnostic laboratory, located at Sango Veterinary Hospital, offers ultrasound services to help our veterinarians examine the structure of your beloved pet's organs. Through this procedure, we can detect any blockages, tumors, or other medical problems that your pet may have. Our veterinarians use ultrasounds and other diagnostic tools to accurately diagnose your pet's medical issues, enabling us to offer the most effective treatment possible and ensure their health and well-being.

Types of Ultrasounds

Your vet may perform these two types of ultrasounds:

Emergency Ultrasound

If your cat undergoes an emergency, an ultrasound procedure will concentrate on the abdomen and chest areas to promptly identify whether your cat is suffering from severe internal bleeding or pneumothorax, a condition in which gas or air gathers in the space surrounding the lungs. This quick diagnosis helps us determine the problem quickly and plan an effective treatment for your pet.


Cardiac ultrasounds, also known as echocardiograms, are detailed scans that examine the heart and its surrounding structures, including the pericardial sac, in great detail.

They help determine if the heart is working correctly or if there are any abnormalities present. Although echocardiograms are typically painless, they involve several measurements and calculations.

If your cat has recently been diagnosed with a heart murmur or is displaying symptoms of heart disease, they may be referred to a specialist for an echocardiogram.

In situations where an organ displays abnormalities, an ultrasound-guided biopsy can be conducted to obtain a tissue sample for further examination under a microscope. This biopsy can assist in making a diagnosis in many cases.

Conditions Which May Mean Your Pet Could Benefit From an Ultrasound

Heart Problems

If your cat has been diagnosed with a heart condition, your vet may refer you to a specialist for a heart ultrasound or echocardiogram to help evaluate the condition and function of your pet's heart and to search for any abnormalities.

Abnormal Blood or Urine Test Results

If your veterinarian discovers any anomalies or deviations in your cat's urine or blood tests, they may recommend an ultrasound to obtain a more precise image of their internal organs such as lymph nodes, kidneys, bladder, and more. This can assist in determining the underlying cause of the problem.

Diagnostic Imaging of Soft Tissue Injuries & Illness

Thanks to ultrasound imaging technology, almost all kinds of soft tissue can be examined in detail. Some of the most common areas examined using ultrasound include:

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

If abnormal tissue is found during an ultrasound, the vet may use it to collect tissue samples from the affected area.

Ultrasound-Assisted Tissue Collection & Biopsies

Samples are typically collected using these methods:

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

If your vet will be performing an ultrasound-assisted tissue collection, your pet will likely be sedated. We can perform biopsies in a less invasive manner with ultrasounds than with surgeries.

How To Prepare Your Dog or Cat for Their Ultrasound

Different types of ultrasounds may be performed on your cat's body. Each type of ultrasound may require specific preparations. It is important to consult with your veterinarian for specific guidelines to help prepare your cat for the ultrasound examination.

For certain types of ultrasounds, such as abdominal ultrasounds, your cat may need to fast for 8 to 12 hours before the procedure. This is to ensure a clearer examination of the abdominal area. In the case of bladder ultrasounds, your cat shouldn't urinate for 3 to 6 hours before the procedure so that the bladder can be adequately assessed.

The area being examined will typically be shaved to ensure clear images can be obtained. Although most pets remain calm and cooperative during the ultrasound, some may need sedation to help them relax.

If biopsies are needed after the ultrasound, your pet may require a stronger sedative or anesthesia to help them relax and prevent complications. Your veterinarian will inform you if this is necessary.

Instant Ultrasound Results For a Fast Diagnosis

Your veterinarian can perform an ultrasound examination in real-time, allowing for immediate results. However, in some cases, the ultrasound images will need to be sent to a veterinary radiologist for further examination.

In such instances, you may need to wait a few days before the final result is concluded.

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.

Is your cat scheduled for an ultrasound at Sango Veterinary Hospital? Contact our Clarksville vets today if you have questions about your cat's procedure.

New Patients Welcome

Sango Veterinary Hospital is accepting new patients! Our experienced vets are passionate about the health of Clarksville companion animals. Get in touch today to book your pet's first appointment.

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