Ultrasound uses high frequency sound waves to create images of organs within the body. Ultrasound is used for imaging the urinary bladder, gall bladder, liver, spleen, kidneys, pancreas, adrenal glands and any abnormal fluid or mass within the abdomen of your pet. More advanced Doppler settings allows for the determination of arterial blood flow from venous blood flow. In addition, the perfusion – or blood vessel density – of an organ such as the kidneys can be determined. Heart ultrasound or echocardiography is slightly different because the heart is moving faster than other organs and requires different frame rates and settings and may require different skills to interpret the images. Dr. Garner is well versed in all aspects of ultrasound both abdominal and heart. Ultrasound is painless to your pet and rarely requires sedation.

Since expanding into more square footage, Safari has invested in a new ultrasound machine for our scanner/surgical suite.

Ultrasound has been used at Safari since 1987 but we have upgraded several times in the past 35 years.Ultrasound works like SONAR; a sound wave ping is sent out through the tissues and interacts with those tissues; the wave then bounces back to the probe. Changes in the wave are recorded on the screen and displayed as grey scale images. The frequency of the wavelength determines how deep the waves penetrate and the resolution of the image.

In small creatures like lizards or birds or hamsters, we use a very high frequency probe but in larger critters like a rottweiler we must use a probe with a longer wavelength that can penetrate through the thickness of this pet.

Abdominal ultrasound is useful in determining liver disease, gallbladder disease, spleen disorders, disorders of the pancreas and the intestines. With the newer probes, the adrenal glands can be visualized. The kidneys and bladder are commonly viewed with ultrasound as stones, infections and tumors can be easily diagnosed in organs with fluid present like the urinary bladder. Pregnancy determination and fetal health monitoring is also an important function of ultrasound.

The photos below are of an ultrasound image of the urinary bladder with stones followed by the post-surgical image of the stones after removal.

Investments in equipment are expensive, and with the ultrasound the primary cost is that of the ultrasound probes. The typical ultrasound probe frequency in most veterinary practices will range from 3 to 7 megahertz. At Safari our ultrasound probes range from 2 to 16 megahertz giving us more ability to make the diagnosis the first time.

Comprehensive Selection of Transducer Probes

Ultrasound of the heart is called “echo” and our ultrasound has Doppler incorporated into it that rates the velocity of blood flow through the heart and across the valves. Doppler allows the arterial blood to appear as red and the venous blood blue on the monitor. This is very helpful when there are flow or turbulence issues because of bad valves or holes in the heart. Doppler is also used to etermine abnormal blood flow in other organs or to diagnose aneurisms.