Ultrasound is also a very useful diagnostic tool. While radiographs can tell you a lot about the bones and also about the size and shape of internal organs, they can’t tell you why an organ is enlarged. Ultrasound is a much better tool for looking at internal structures such as the liver and kidneys. It allows you to see the difference between fluid pockets and tumors. Biopsies and needle aspirates can also be obtained with ultrasound guidance in a way that is safer and less invasive than surgery.
Abdominal ultrasound allows us to visualize the tissue density of many organs with detail that is not possible with x-rays. With abdominal ultrasound we can see the bladder, kidneys, gall bladder, lymph nodes, blood vessels, abnormal fluids, pancreas, tumors, adrenal glands, uterus, and stomach, intestines.
As early as 21 days into pregnancy we can see beating fetal hearts. Organs or masses can be measured and compared with normal structures. Furthermore, a small needle can be guided by ultrasound to take a sample of a particular tissue or fluid. Patients must have their fur clipped to allow for the best images. In emergency cases or to answer a specific question about an organ such as the gallbladder or bladder, ultrasound offers real time assessment of the patient’s problem.