What does an ultrasound show me that X-rays don’t? This is something we are asked almost daily when speaking with clients about diagnostics on their sick pets.
X-rays are a great baseline when your pet is ill. We can see the internal organs and their contours, look for changes in the lungs that you may see from heart failure or cancer. We can see bladder or kidney stones and look for signs of intestinal obstructions. We can even look at bone to check for arthritis and growing pains. So why an ultrasound if we can see all that?
An ultrasound lets us look at the actual structure of an organ.
When looking at the heart, we can actually watch it beat and measure how well the heart muscles contract, how efficiently they are working. We can see the heart valves opening and closing, look for any signs of regurgitation, or leaky valves. If there is fluid in the chest or abdomen, we use the ultrasound to help us aspirate a sample for further evaluation, just as we can use it to aspirate or biopsy organs like the liver or kidneys if need be.