What you need to know about Ultrasounds & FNAs

From The Veterinary Internal Medicine Group


What is an ultrasound?

Ultrasounds are soundwaves that create a moving image on a monitor. You've seen an ultrasound if you’ve ever seen a doctor use gel & a wand to check on a baby during pregnancy. We use the same machine for pets.

Your pet needs to be perfectly still to get a clear ultrasound image, so a small dose of sedative is needed.

Even if you think your pet doesn't move much, their abdominal muscles need to be relaxed so we can get the absolute clearest image. They cannot be fidgeting or rolling over, so they need a small sedative. The sedative lasts just long enough for us to do the procedure and dissipates in about 15 minutes.

Sometimes an ultrasound is followed by a Fine Needle Aspirate (FNA)

A fine needle aspirate is a procedure to obtain a sample of tissues/organs (liver, kidneys, etc). In many cases, an FNA can eliminate the need for a BIOPSY— which would involve cutting skin/surgery. As the name implies, a very fine needle is used. It’s smaller than needles used for drawing blood in humans. Discomfort is minimal.

NOTE: Not every pet will need a fine needle aspirate, but we ask that you give your vet consent ahead of time in case one is recommended during the ultrasound. Doing the FNA in the same visit means a faster diagnosis.

Before THE procedure

Make sure your pet is fasting for 8 hours prior to procedure

If your pet has diabetes or chronically low blood sugar, this does not apply. Fasting ensures that food inside the stomach does not obstruct the view as we look at nearby organs (such as the pancreas, gallbladder, etc).

Your pet’s abdomen will be shaved

Fur / hair Interferes with the sound waves, so the vet will shave the area to ensure a clear ultrasound image.

AFTER THE procedure

For the fastest diagnosis, we give your vet our verbal findings ON-THE-SPOT

Your vet will also get a full report by our board-certified internist — within 24 hours

Thank you for trusting us with your pet’s diagnosis,

Dr. Pedro Armstrong, DVM, DACVIM & The VIMG Team www.veterinaryIMgroup.com