Ultrasound FAQ and Tips

Tips for Patient Preparation for Ultrasound

Abdominal Scan:

  1. The patient should be fasted for at least 12 hours, if possible
  2. Do not allow patients to void (eliminate urine) prior to the ultrasound, especially if bladder pathology is suspected.
  3. Sedation allows for the most thorough and diagnostic images, even if the animal is not hyperexcitable. This provides for significantly improved quality and detail of the images, which helps to yield improved results.
  4. I recommend pre-treatment (given orally with a very small piece of food the morning of the scheduled appointment) with mild sedatives, such as Trazodone or Gabapentin. These can be prescribed by the clients’ primary care veterinarian, and may help reduce the need for injectable sedatives at the time of the ultrasound.
  5. Your pet will be shaved from the edge of the ribs to the level of the flanks and groin to allow for improved image quality.

Echocardiogram— Prior to scheduling with BAE for echocardiograms, please contact Dr. Bottorff, DVM, DACVIM (cardiology) to check for his availability

  1. The patient does not need to be fasted.
  2. Patients can be taken outside to void prior to the scan to ensure they are as comfortable as possible.
  3. We encourage the client to stay with their pet as long as possible prior to the scan to help reduce the effects of stress on the heart.
  4. Sedation is usually not necessary. However, if a patient is very excitable or aggressive, I recommend pre-treatment with mild, oral sedatives such as Trazodone or Gabapentin (given orally the morning of the appointment). This decision will be assessed by your primary care veterinarian scheduling the exam.
  5. At the time of the exam, other mild and safe sedatives can be used in animals with heart disease without affecting the echo measurements.
  6. Your pet will be shaved in the armpits to allow for improved image quality.

Pet Ultrasound FAQ

  • Appointments are offered every Tuesday and Wednesday from 9 am until 4 pm, beginning October 5, 2021.
  • These dates are subject to change beginning December 1, 2021.
  • Ultrasounds can be performed on an emergency basis outside of the regularly scheduled hours, depending on sonographer availability, for an additional on-call fee of $150.
  • Your primary care veterinarian will schedule the appointment for your pet.
  • At the time of scheduling, they will provide BAESC with the pertinent information regarding your pets case, (including medical records) and potential needs.
  • Once an appointment has been scheduled by your veterinarian, BAESC will contact you to review procedures, expectations, provide you with a financial estimate, and answer any questions you may have.
  • Expect to drop off your pet between 8 am and 9 am, where you will be given the opportunity to go over any questions you may have regarding the procedure.
  • Once your pet’s imaging has been completed, we will call your primary care veterinarian to discuss the preliminary results as interpreted by the sonographer. If there are any other recommendations that will help to obtain diagnosis or provide treatment (i.e., obtaining samples of tissue with a needle aspirate, removing pathologic accumulation of fluid, etc), these will be discussed with your primary care veterinarian and you, the client. You can elect to pursue additional recommendations, or decline based upon your level of comfort with the recommended procedure.
  • If there are no other steps required following imaging, your pet will be released to your care following the scan. The expected amount of time your pet may need to stay in the clinic for the procedure is anywhere from 1 to 6 hours, depending upon the number of appointments that day, the sonographic findings, if additional procedures are pursued, or if your pet was given sedatives for sampling procedures.
  • A Board Certified Specialist will review the images of the ultrasound and provide their full interpretation with medical recommendations within 24 to 48 hours. This information will be directly shared with your primary care veterinarian to relay to you directly.
  • It is imperative to understand that BAESC will provide ONLY PRELIMINARY information regarding the scan. We will do our absolute best to have direct and collaborative communication with your primary care veterinarian in order to make the best decision for your pet, but the full diagnosis of the images will be relayed to you by YOUR VETERINARIAN, not BAESC.

**Please note: Due to COVID-19, I am currently not allowing clients to be present for the scan.**

  • This is determined on a case-by-case basis. At times, the client’s presence can be quite helpful during cardiac ultrasounds for nervous pets. However, it is imperative you remain still and quiet, and allow the staff to restrain and sedate your pet if necessary. It is important to understand that our emotions can affect the mood and cooperation of your pet, so if you are nervous, it may lead to challenges with obtaining quality images in your pet.
  • For sampling procedures, all clients will be asked to wait in the lobby.
  • This depends largely on the patient. In a compliant, sedated patient, an abdominal ultrasound takes 15-45 minutes depending on animal size (a mastiff with a braced abdomen can take 45 minutes, while a sedated cat might only take 10-15 minutes). In a fractious or agitated patient, it may take much more time to obtain quality images.
  • Echocardiograms usually take approximately 30-45 minutes, again dependent on the cooperation of the patient and the pathology.
  • In human emergency medicine, a study revealed significant degrees of pathology were MISSED when ultrasounds were completed on wiggly children without sedation. The same thing occurs in our pets.
  • Motion, panting, tensing of the abdomen, pain, and vocalizing all decrease the quality and detail of the images we obtain. Panting often leads to significant aerophagia, resulting in a gas-filled stomach which obstructs views of the pylorus, pancreatic body, duodenal papilla, and right limb of the pancreas, rendering them as not visualized. For that reason, although ultrasound can be done without sedation, the results are much better with sedation. In the end, it is the call of the client and the referring veterinarian.
  • Ultrasound-guided Fine needle aspirates (FNAs) can be performed at the same time as the original scheduled ultrasound only after both the primary care veterinarian and the client have understood the reason for the recommendation and given their consent.
  • If FNA is to be pursued, your pet may require blood coagulation times prior to the sampling (can be performed quickly and efficiently at BAESC) and sedation will be necessary.
  • On occasion, there may be schedule or time constraints that interfere with the ability to perform same-day sampling procedures. In the event that occurs, your pet can be rescheduled for another appointment to obtain the samples without additional charges.
  • Please be aware that there is a $100 cancellation fee if the appointment is cancelled or rescheduled within a 24 hour time window of the appointment.
  • When an appointment is scheduled, the referring veterinarian’s office will receive a confirmation email from info@bendanimaler.com. KEEP THESE EMAILS! If the client requests help with rescheduling or canceling an appointment, contact BAESC via this email thread or by contacting BAESC via phone (541-385-9110) during business hours.
  • Alternatively, the client can contact BAESC directly, either through email or telephone to reschedule or cancel the appointment. 
  • The base fee for a routine abdominal ultrasound with specialist review is $600. This includes the cost of sedation, should it be necessary to obtain the highest quality images. 
  • Upon receiving the appointment request, a team member of BAESC will contact the client directly and provide a detailed financial estimate. 
  • There is a $100 cancellation fee if the ultrasound is cancelled within 24 hours of the scheduled time. There are exceptions only for client emergencies. Please inform clients accordingly at the time of scheduling.