What To Expect When Your Dog Gets An Ultrasound To Check For Abdominal Abnormalities

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What To Expect When Your Dog Gets An Ultrasound To Check For Abdominal Abnormalities

3 November 2016
, Blog

There are many reasons why a veterinarian would want to have an ultrasound done on your pet dog. Your pet may have a small toy stuck in their digestive tract, or they could be suffering from a heart ailment that needs to be closely inspected to look for things like a faulty heart valve. The ultrasound is typically done at the veterinarian's office and the results are immediate. If your veterinarian has told you that your dog will need to have an ultrasound and you want to know more about what will happen, here is an overview of what to expect when the ultrasound is being performed.

Dog's Position

Your dog will be placed on an examination table. The veterinarian will usually turn the dog on its back or up on its side so they so they can work on the dog's tummy. These two positions allow the veterinarian to seamlessly move the ultrasound device up and down the dog's tummy and chest area.


An ultrasound does not cause any discomfort, but your dog may be uneasy about being handled by strangers. An assistant often helps the veterinarian by petting the dog and talking to it in a soothing voice to try to keep it calm. Sometimes, though, a dog won't react well and a sedative is used to calm it down. A common sedative that is used to calm an overly anxious dog before the procedure is diazepam. The medication is administered using a syringe and the diazepam is injected directly into a muscle or the blood stream. The medication allows the dog to remain still while the ultrasound is performed.


Your dog's tummy and chest area where the ultrasound will take place will be shaved. A gel is put on the tip of the ultrasound probe to help the electronic waves pass back and forth through the skin. The probe is attached to a monitor that allows the veterinarian to see the organs in the body and to record the images for further viewing later.

The probe is pressed against the tummy and chest of the dog. An electronic impulse is sent through the probe to create sound waves. The sound waves bounce off of the organs in the body to create the images that are then captured by the probe. The veterinarian will study the images to see if there are any abnormalities in the shape, size, and function of the internal body organs.

The entire process typically takes about 20 minutes or so. Afterward, the veterinarian will analyze the results of the ultrasound to help them create a treatment plan to help your dog feel better.