Although most feline ultrasound procedures are done to check the progress of a pregnancy, this technology has other potentially life-saving applications. Ultrasound lets veterinarians capture real-time images of internal functioning, giving vets one more diagnostic tool for trying to determine what is bothering kitty.
An ultrasound gives a glimpse of how the internal body is working, but the process of obtaining ultrasound information is a bit more complicated than taking a mere peek. Vetinfo explains that ultrasound images are the result of high-frequency sound waves aimed at a specific portion of the body. The waves travel through that section of the body, recording images of it and its activity.
Veterinarians are compelled to tell the owners of their patients that any medical procedure has some risks. This is along the same lines of what medical doctors discuss with humans. In general terms, ultrasound for a cat is safe because it is non-invasive, as noted by Cat Care Clinic
As with any medical procedure, some preparation might be necessary. In the case of an abdominal ultrasound, VCA Animal Hospitals suggests that owners withhold food for at least 12 hours before the scan.
Some cats will require sedation during the procedure because it requires them to lie on their back for an extended period of time, according to Vetinfo. This isn't painful or uncomfortable; it just isn't something that most cats do very well for the 30 to 60 minutes required to complete the procedure. Kitty is placed on his back in soft padded V-shaped bed and is held in place by a veterinary assistant, Cat Care Clinic explains. Unless a cat becomes overly anxious, anesthesia is usually unnecessary.
What Warrants An Ultrasound
The most common use of ultrasound in all female mammals is to check the growth of a fetus. The same applies to cats -- especially those used in expensive breeding programs or research studies. But that isn't the only reason. The procedure is often used when a cat suffers from unexplained weight loss, kidney, liver or gastrointestinal diseases, pancreatitis, bladder problems or cancer, Cat Care Clinic indicates.
A feline echocardiogram -- ultrasound of the heart -- costs $100 to $500, according to How Much Does It Cost? Some clinics have more advanced equipment than others, adding to their fixed overhead. In 2011, the VCA Antech Animal Hospital in Los Angeles offered outpatient abdominal ultrasound not including any consultation for $200. Using ultrasound services to diagnose your kitty's health problems can be an expensive venture, testing your financial commitment to your feline friend.
Always check with your veterinarian before changing your pet’s diet, medication, or physical activity routines. This information is not a substitute for a vet’s opinion.
- Vetinfo: Cat Ultrasound Exams Explained
- VCA Animal Hospitals: Ultrasound Examination in Cats
- Pet Place: Abdominal Ultrasound in Cats
- Ormond Cat Clinic: What is an Ultrasound?
- How Much Is It?: How Much Does An Echocardiogram for a Cat Cost?
- VCA Animal Hospitals: VCA Antech: Outpatient Ultrasound Services:
Amy M. Armstrong is a former community news journalist with more than 15 years of experience writing features and covering school districts. She has received more than 40 awards for excellence in journalism and photography. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in communications from Washington State University. Armstrong grew up on a dairy farm in western Washington and wrote agricultural news while in college.