Ultrasound Diagnostics

Ultrasound is one of the many diagnostic tools available at Windsor Animal Hospital. Ultrasound is a painless, non-invasive method used to evaluate the appearance of the internal organs of cats and dogs. It uses sound waves emitted from a probe on the outside of the body to show a picture of the organs inside the body.  It is a bit like a sonar used by ships.  In addition to seeing organs, it can see moving objects such as the heart beating, valves moving, blood flowing and intestinal movement.  Abdominal ultrasound can aid in the diagnosis of:

  • liver disease
  • kidney disease
  • pancreatitis
  • inflammatory bowel disease
  • bladder problems including bladder stones
  • many other conditions

In some cases, ultrasound can assist the veterinarian in obtaining samples for cytology or biopsy. Cardiac ultrasound allows measurement of heart walls, heart chambers and assessment of heart function. It is critical to the diagnosis and treatment of heart disease in dogs and cats.

Check out these videos of ultrasound in action:

Mitral Insufficiency

This ultrasound image shows the mitral valve. In this case the mitral valve is damaged and the blood flows forward (desired) and backward (not desired) with each beat of the heart. The heart is a pump and the valves determine the quality of each pump and the direction of blood flow. When the mitral valve is damaged blood flowing backward causes fluid to build up in the lungs and the lack of sufficient blood flowing forward causes weakness and lethargy.

Normal Heart

This Ultrasound image shows the heart beating. The Ultrasonographer can measure the heart wall chambers, blood in-flow and out-flow characteristics, heart valve function, contractility, presence of blood clots, presence of cancers, etc…

These conditions are all easily diagnosed with ultrasound:

Bladder Stones

If bladder stones are left untreated, they will enlarge in size and number, the patient may not be able to urinate, and usually cause increasing pain.

Intestinal Lymphoma

This image of the intestine shows lymphoma (malignant cancer nodules) in the intestinal wall. This cancer will cause intestine dysfunction and eventually death if left untreated.

Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD)

This image of the intestine shows IBD which is inflammation of the intestinal wall. This disease will cause vomiting, diarrhea, anorexia and abdominal pain if left untreated.


This image of a lymph node shows the cancer mass growing in the lymph node. If left untreated, this cancer will cause severely enlarged lymph nodes, weakness, pain and eventually death.

Polycystic kidney

This image of a kidney shows multiple cysts (fluid filled blisters) inside the kidney. The cysts replace the normal functioning kidney tissue and slowly render the kidney non-functional resulting in kidney failure.


This image shows the severe inflammation that results in the pancreas when it is infected or inflamed. Common causes of pancreatitis are ingestion of rotten foods, fat-rich foods, or pre-existing medical conditions, breed pre-dispositions or obesity.