Preparation for ultrasound examination of sick animals

Time of examination

Whenever possible, ultrasound examinations should be scheduled in the morning or evening. All operations that cause discomfort or pain to the animal prior to the ultrasound should be avoided in order to allow the animal to cooperate or tolerate the relatively long procedure.



For optimal results in abdominal ultrasonography and ultrasound pregnancy diagnosis, animals should be fasted for 12-24 h. The quality of the ultrasonography can be compromised by intestinal inflation in cats that have ingested rats. These animals should be fasted and reexamined. However, do not fast for more than 24 h, as excessive gas can be produced in the intestine after 24 h. Two oral doses of gas eliminators 1 day and 2-3 h before the ultrasound examination will give better results. The bladder of the animal should be full for abdominal and pregnancy examinations, so the animal should be allowed to drink freely before the examination. A slight decrease in skin elasticity will greatly reduce image quality.


Clipping and Shaving

Clipping and shaving depends mainly on the density of the animal’s coat. In addition, the area to be scanned, the size and frequency of the probe, individual animal differences and the wishes of the owner at the time should all be considered. The animals with rigid and dense hair must be clipped to obtain a good image. Long-haired dogs and cats do not have to be clipped when using a medium-frequency probe. In these cases, the coat can be separated by wetting it with alcohol. With an understanding of the importance of the examination, most animal owners are comfortable with the removal of the coat. Some animals, especially cats, are reluctant to be clipped and to cooperate with subsequent ultrasound, although ultrasound is usually sedating for most dogs and cats. Some animals may fall asleep during longer ultrasound examinations.

The clipping area should be as small as possible, but also large enough to allow imaging of adjacent organs. In pregnant animals, especially cats, the coat around the ventral abdominal teats should not be removed, as kittens prefer hairy teats. Hair clipping in this area may also cause milk retention and mastitis. Breed characteristics should also be considered when removing the coat. For example, the coats of pinschers and birmans grow very slowly or not at all, and the re-grown coats may be a different color.

 Ultrasound for dogs


Routine scanning of the head, neck, heart and abdominal areas, including pregnancy diagnosis, usually does not require sedation. Considering the sonographer and the owner of the sick animal, it is necessary to sedate aggressive animals that require longer ultrasound examinations. In some special ultrasound examinations (e.g., transesophageal echocardiography or intravascular ultrasound), the animal must be sedated or anesthetized.

Post time: Mar-07-2023