Cat Ultrasound Exams Explained

Cat ultrasound procedures are very common in most veterinary offices around the country. There are many reasons why a veterinarian will suggest that a cat have a feline ultrasound procedure done. Ultrasound procedures for cats are most often associated with cat birth processes. The cat vet will explain the reasons behind the necessary ultrasound procedure but, so you can better understand prior to you cat needing an ultrasound, here are the basics of cat ultrasound tests.

Ultrasound Technology

Ultrasound imagining is the result of high frequency sound waves aimed at a certain area of the body. As the high frequency sound waves travel into the body they return images of the internal organs. Ultrasounds return results in real-time. This means the veterinarian can see how the organs are moving and how blood is flowing through the cat's body at the time of the procedure.

Types of Ultrasound Procedures

There are different types of ultrasound procedures that are available. There is 3-D ultrasound, which formats the results of the wave readings into 3-D images. There is also 4-D ultrasound, which is a 3-D ultrasound that shows movement as well, thus the 4-D name.

Abdominal Ultrasound

Abdominal ultrasound is one of the most common cat tests that a veterinarian will recommend. Most veterinarians will complete an x-ray procedure prior to suggesting a feline ultrasound. Cats who have been suffering from excessive vomiting, diarrhea, cats who are urinating blood or who are straining to urinate are good candidates for abdominal ultrasound procedures. A veterinarian will also recommend an abdominal ultrasound if they suspect an issue with the cat's spleen, liver or pancreas after completing a physical examination.

Cardiac Ultrasound

Some cats will require a cardiac ultrasound, which is an ultrasound of the heart. An echocardiogram reveals pictures of the heart in cats and is useful in identifying birth defects and tumors in the heart cavity.

What an Ultrasound Shows

Ultrasounds are non-invasive and are an excellent tool that allows the veterinarian to see if there is a change in the tissues or size and shape of any organs. Ultrasound procedures also reveal any fluid present in the cat's body particularly fluid that should not be there. The ultrasound procedure helps the veterinarian pinpoint the areas of the cat's body that will require a biopsy if that is necessary.

How an Ultrasound Is Done

Ultrasounds are noninvasive procedures that are not painful for the cat and don't typically require sedation. Some cats will need sedation because the ultrasound procedure requires them to lie on their back for an extended period of time. This can be difficult and uncomfortable for some animals. If the ultrasound procedure determines that a biopsy is necessary then the veterinarian will use a local anesthetic on the cat.

Feline ultrasounds are a great diagnostic tool that veterinarians use when they need more information about symptoms a cat is exhibiting. Ultrasound procedures are often associated with pregnancy, but the usefulness of ultrasound procedures extends far beyond that.