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Although humans and animals are different in many ways, some advances in human medicine are also very useful for veterinary patients. One of these advances, diagnostic ultrasonography, has proven to be a powerful tool in veterinary medicine. As a practice, one of our goals is to offer state-of-the-art medicine and diagnostic testing, so we are pleased to offer ultrasonographic services as a means of providing a higher level of quality care to our equine patients. 

Ultrasonography is a type of diagnostic technique that uses ultrasound waves to produce an imaging study. This means that when we perform ultrasonography, we can see internal images of the patient’s body. Unlike some other imaging studies, like x-rays, ultrasonography does not use radiation. Instead, ultrasonography uses high-frequency sound (ultrasound) waves to create a picture of what is inside a horse’s body. Ultrasonography is a completely non-invasive, painless way to diagnose and evaluate many common diseases. 

An ultrasound machine generates ultrasound waves. The machine is connected to a small probe that is held gently against a horse’s skin (or sometimes inserted into the rectum, when necessary, to evaluate a structure in that area). The probe sends out painless ultrasound waves that bounce off of structures such as organs in a horse’s body and return to a sensor inside the ultrasound machine. The ultrasound equipment collects these reflected “echoes” and uses them to generate images that are viewable on a screen. Ultrasound waves can generate excellent images of abdominal organs, including the liver, spleen, bladder, and kidneys. Ultrasonography can be used to (1) evaluate joints, tendons, and ligaments, (2) assess fetal health and monitor pregnancy in breeding mares, and (3) help diagnose problems with internal organs, such as pneumonia, heart disease, and gastrointestinal disease.

As we strive to provide our equine patients with the highest quality medicine and diagnostic testing, we are pleased to offer ultrasonographic evaluation as one of our diagnostic capabilities.