Abdominal ultrasound

Category: Services

This information is for clients who have  been referred for an abdominal ultrasound.
If you have any further queries please call the clinic.

"Scanning" an abdomen

In the past if we wanted to see the structure of organs in the abdomen we had to perform an exploratory surgery. Ultrasound provides a less invasive way to try and get similiar information.

Many people are familiar with ultrasounds from pregnancy scans. The machine uses sound at high frequency to generate a picture of the structures within the abdomen. Organs such as kidneys, liver, spleen, bladder, gut, some glands and lymphatic system can all be investigated.

Ultrasound shows us the structure of these organs.

What can't ultrasound do?

Ultrasound is excellent at showing us the structure of organs that in the past, would only be possible via an exploratory surgery but it does not give us information at a microscopic level. Whilst some diagnoses are possible through ultrasound alone, it is sometime still neccessary to get a sample of tissue to confirm the exact nature of a disease process.

Ultrasound also does not tell us how an organ is functioning. Combining ultrasound with blood tests or biopsy can answer these questions.

Finally ultrasound can miss small lumps or even areas that might be obscured by gas or another organ.

Just like all our diagnostic tools, ultrasound is not perfect.


No.  Ultrasound is a very safe tool. There is no radiation involved. Ultrasound uses sound to create it’s images.

Who performs scans

We have two of our own vets who perform ultrasounds and one private group called Sound Diagnosis headed by an old friend of ours, Dr Veronica Damien;

Dr Ana Hayes
Dr Stephen Brown
Dr Veronica Damien and associates (Sound Diagnosis)


Neither Ana or Stephen have formal qualifications in cardiology and are NOT members of the Australian College of Veterinary Scientists.
Such veterinary specialists do exist.

Preparation and what happens on the day

Prior to your ultrasound we ask that you fast your pet of solid food for at least 12 hours prior to the procedure. If there are medical reasons why this is not possible (eg. Diabetes), please discuss these with your vet. Water is fine and should be on offer right until you come to the clinic.

On the day of the ultrasound an appointment time will have been made for you. During this appointment the process will be discussed with you and a quote provided. Then we will admit your pet.

After admission we ask you to allow 1½  hours after admission before coming to collect your pet. Those patients with a discharge appointment will meet the vet again at that time. The results of the ultrasound are sent directly to your vet.

Whilst we do everything to try and keep to our arranged time, sometimes emergencies will take priority. We appreciate your patience in these situations and understanding that if it were your pet that needed urgent attention, we would be able to provide it.


    To allow high quality images and help get an accurate diagnosis,  the entire abdomen needs to be clipped of hair.


Yes. Sedation is required in many cases.
Your pet will be required to lie on their side & back for up to 30 minutes. We use very safe type of sedation to permit a thorough, high quality, examination. The exception are pregnancy ultrasounds for which we do not use sedation.

Whilst sedation is widely regarded as a very safe procedure there is always some risk associated with use of these drugs.
You should always notify us if your pet has had any previous problems with anaesthesia or sedation.


Your own vet will provide you with an estimate prior to you visiting which will be confirmed at your consultation when you arrive at the clinic. The exact cost depends on whether samples will be taken for sending to the laboratory.