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Out-Patient Ultrasound

A non-invasive procedure to visualise and assess the structure of internal organs.

Out-Patient Ultrasound

A non-invasive procedure to visualise and assess the structure of internal organs.

Your pet has been referred to Moorview Referrals by your vet for an ultrasound examination. This is a non-invasive procedure that allows us to visualise and assess the structure of internal organs.Please find below what to expect during your appointment.

Patient preparation


Please do not offer your pet any food for at least 12 hours before the appointment and removeaccess to water at 7am. This is very important as an empty stomach is needed to allow a completeultrasound examination of the abdomen. Please note that if your pet has not been fasted theirultrasound examination may need to be rescheduled. If your pet is due to be given any medications on the morning of the appointment please contactus or your vet for advice on whether they should be given, and if your pet has diabetes or is lessthan three months old please contact us to discuss when to feed your pet before theirappointment.


Please avoid allowing your pet to pass urine for 2 hours before the appointment as a full bladderaids assessment of the urinary tract.

Stress management

If your pet gets very stressed or anxious about travel or veterinary visits please speak to your vetabout oral anti-anxiety medication to be given just prior to the appointment.

At your appointment


Your pet will be admitted to our hospital by a member of our nursing team. Your will be asked tosign a consent form for sedation/anaesthesia if required, clipping of fur, placement of anintravenous catheter, the ultrasound procedure itself and ultrasound-guided sampling of internalorgans as requested by your vet. Sedation/anaesthesia is not required for all ultrasoundexaminations but is often needed to ensure the patient is not anxious or if sampling is required. A full clinical examination will be performed prior to administration of any sedatives or anaestheticsand medications will be carefully chosen for each individual. Please do not hesitate to ask anyquestions you may have during the admission appointment.


Most ultrasound examinations take 30-40 minutes but may be a little longer depending on findingsor if ultrasound guided sampling is required. It may also take a little time for your pet to recover from sedation. A member of our nursing or reception teams will call you when your pet is ready togo home and arrange a discharge appointment.


A nurse will discharge your pet and discuss any care required after the procedure.


A detailed report of the ultrasound examination will be sent to your vet within 1-3 days (depending on the urgency of the case) and they will discuss the results with you. If anything is found duringthe examination that requires urgent decision making we will discuss this immediately with your vet and yourself. Please be contactable during your pet’s stay with us. An estimate of costs will have been discussed with you when the appointment was arranged andduring admission, but if any unexpected tests or procedures are required you will be contacted todiscuss this further.

Additional information

Sampling proceduresIf abnormalities are identified, it may be recommended that a sample is taken for analysis. Thisusually requires sedation to allow aspiration of a small amount of tissue using a fine needle orcollection of a small piece of tissue using a biopsy needle.

Examples of procedures include: collection of urine from the bladder (cystocentesis), collection of fluid from the abdominal or chestcavity (abdominocentesis or thoracocentesis) and aspiration of solid organs such as the liver,spleen, lymph nodes or kidneys. Further tests such as blood tests to ensure blood clotting is normal and may be required prior to these procedures but are not always necessary. Samples are sentto an external laboratory for analysis and results will be sent to your vet as soon as they areavailable.


Sedation may make your pet mildly disorientated, quiet or unstable while walking for a brief periodafterwards. We advise keeping your pet quiet and warm while they recover but please do nothesitate to contact us if you have any concerns.


Risks and potential complications of sedation/anaesthesia and ultrasound guided procedures will be discussed with you at the time of admission, but please do not hesitate to ask if you have anyqueries or concerns. It is very rare that general anaesthesia is required for ultrasound guidedprocedures. These is a small risk of bleeding associated with some ultrasound-guided procedures,which is it may be advised to check blood clotting first.


Echocardiography is an ultrasound examination of the heart. It is ideally performed withoutsedation but occasionally sedatives are required, but medications that have minimal effect on theheart will be chosen. Fasting is therefore still required for echocardiography.