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Ultrasound and X-rays: What Do Pet Scans Detect?

When your pet falls ill, you will take them to a veterinarian at Animal Hospital of Humble for a checkup. The veterinarian will then run several tests to determine what to treat. Among them are ultrasounds and X-rays. Each has a different purpose depending on your veterinarian’s view.



Ultrasound uses an electronic device that deploys sound waves to form an image of various body parts. The veterinarian uses a handheld probe to scan the skin surface over the target area. As they do this, the device links to a computer that generates the image. Sound waves from the probe are painless and not harmful to your pet.



X-rays use radiograph technology that involves radiation as a diagnostic tool. The radiation transmits electronic waves that depict your pet’s internal structures onto a film. The images help the veterinarian determine the problem areas within your pet.


Pet Issues Diagnosed With Ultrasound

Ultrasounds typically focus on the soft tissues of your animal and can help evaluate its tendons, thyroid glands, ligaments, and eyes. They can also assess pregnancy, fetal development, and viability. The veterinarian can collect samples using ultrasound if they discover abnormal tissue during the procedure.

Your veterinarian may recommend an ultrasound to determine other health issues after the examination. If they suspect a heart condition, they may require a different form of ultrasound to confirm their diagnosis. An echocardiogram is a similar technology that helps veterinarians diagnose if an animal requires heart medication.

Your veterinarian may require a test of your pet’s urine or blood during a routine visit. Any abnormalities in these results may require an abdominal ultrasound. The procedure helps visualize the animal’s internal organs to get the cause of the irregularities. They check on the urinary bladder, liver, lymph nodes, spleen, and kidneys.


Pet Issues Diagnosed Through X-rays

X-rays help veterinarians get a general overview of your pet before proceeding with any other treatment. For this reason, it is often the first diagnostic tool they employ during an appointment. The procedure usually detects bone fractures in your pet’s body.

Most household pets tend to swallow objects like plastic chew toys, loose change, or other items around the house. If these are made of metal or hard plastic, they are visible via X-ray. Your veterinarian will be able to assist the animal as the items block radiation and stand out during the procedure. An X-ray can also help reveal other physical anomalies in your pet. Among them are congestive heart failure and lung problems.


Why Choose One Procedure Over the Other

The decision to perform an ultrasound or X-ray lies with your veterinarian. Several factors about your pet’s condition help them determine which procedure is best. Some include the animal’s behavior, symptoms, medical history, and initial observations.

In some cases, they may decide to do both an ultrasound and an X-ray. Conducting both tests helps them narrow down on particular animal health issues. For instance, what may seem like a foreign object under X-ray may present as an enlarged spleen under ultrasound. 

For more on X-rays and ultrasounds for diagnosing pets, visit Animal Hospital of Humble at our Humble, Texas office. Call (281) 812-1960 to schedule an appointment today.

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