Southlane Veterinary Hospital

1259 South Sturdy Road
Valparaiso, IN 46383


Ultrasound, Endoscopy, & Telemedicine


Ultrasound Examinations

What is an ultrasound exam?

An ultrasound exam, also called ultrasonography, is a non-invasive imaging technique that allows internal body structures to be seen by recording the reflections, or "echoes" of ultrasonic sound waves. Unlike x-rays, which are potentially dangerous, ultrasound waves are considered to be safe. Many body structures and organs that cannot be seen with x-rays are easily seen with ultrasound. 

The probe directs the ultrasound waves through an area of interest in the body. As the sound waves travel through tissues of different densities they are changed, and when these altered sound waves bounce back to the ultrasound probe a computer in the machine converts them into a picture, called an ultrasound image.

What types of examinations can you perform with ultrasound?    Ultrasound images are an invaluable, non-invasive diagnostic tool that can be used to investigate many different growths, lesions, and body parts. Here's a list of some of the exams that can be done:

  • The abdomen and all of its organs.
  • The heart (called an echocardiogram) and chest.
  • Pregnancy diagnosis and monitoring.
  • Musculoskeletal structures like tendons, ligaments, and muscles. 
  • Lymph nodes, both inside the body and peripheral nodes.
  • Endocrine organs like the thyroid gland.
  • The internal structures of the eyes.
  • Skin growths and tumors.
  • Joint swellings. 

    image of bladder wall tumor in a dog                           Cat echocardiogram showing greatly thickened heart walls 
      Bladder wall tumor in a dog.                                                                                                 Cat echocardiogram showing greatly thickened heart walls.
 Multiple bladder stones                              ultrasound of Normal 40 day dog pregnancy, healthy fetus  
         Multiple bladder stones.                                                                                         Normal 40 day dog pregnancy, healthy fetus.

Will my pet have to be anesthetized for the exam?

The ultrasound exam is totally painless, so often times no anesthesia is needed. Some ultrasound exams that require the patient to lay still for longer periods of time, such as full cardiac or abdominal scans, will be performed after giving the patient a reversible sedative. This makes the exam more comfortable for the pet, and allows the person scanning to proceed much faster.

Is it necessary to shave my pet's fur for the exam?

The ultrasound images will be much better quality if the hair is shaved over the area being investigated. Shaving the hair allows for proper contact with the skin to optimize the transmission of the sound waves.
There are many exams, however, that we can do with minimal shaving, or that do not require the area to be shaved at all.

When will I know the results of the exam?

Since the ultrasound exam is done in real time, the results of the exam are known immediately. In some instances, we will send the images via telemedicine to have them reviewed by a specialist. These reports generally come back within a few days.


Endoscopic examinations

What exactly is an endoscopic exam and how is it used?

An endoscopic exam is a minimally invasive type of exam that is done with either flexible or rigid equipment that has a video camera and ports for instruments. The exam is viewed on a monitor in the surgical room, and all procedures such as biopsies are done by viewing the instruments on the monitor. Endoscopic exams are wonderful alternatives to conventional surgery.

What types of endoscopic exams do you perform?

  • Upper GI endoscopic exam - the mouth, throat, esophagus, stomach, and a portion of the small bowel can all be seen.
  • Lower GI endoscopic exam - this is known as a colonoscopy, and the entire large bowel can be investigated.
  • Rhinoscopic exam - this is an exam of the nasal passages and the back portion of the nasal airways called the nasopharynx.
  • Otoendoscopic exam - a complete exam of the ear canals.
  • Cystoscopic exam - an investigation of the lower urinary tract (urethra) and of the bladder.
  • Laparoscopic exams - these are rigid endoscopic examinations of the chest cavity and of the abdominal cavity.  

 Over-sized wedding ring retrieved with endoscope    Push-pin retrieved with endoscope    Colonoscopy reveals a rectal tumor in a dog    Rhinoscopy showing a pale tumor a dog's nasopharynx                      
Over-sized wedding ring retrieved with endoscope.                     Push-pin retrieved with endoscope.                         Colonoscopy reveals a rectal tumor in a dog.                             Rhinoscopy showing a pale-white tumor a dog's nasopharynx.

                                       image of swallowed penny in the stomach of a dog    Endoscopic surgical removal of an ear polyp in a cat    endoscopic removal of an ingested lick-mat in a dog
                                                               Swallowed penny in the stomach of a dog.                                         Endoscopic surgical removal of an ear polyp in a cat.                   Endoscopic removal of an ingested lick-mat in a dog. 

What types of conditions would warrant an endoscopic exam? 

There are many conditions and diseases that can be diagnosed and treated with endoscopic exams. For example:

  • Inappropriate ingestion of toys, coins, rocks, bones, etc. - these objects can be removed from the stomach endoscopically, saving the pet from having to undergo an uncomfortable surgical removal.
  • Chronic nasal discharge - during a rhinoscopic exam areas of inflammation, polyps, and growths can be identified, biopsied, and/or removed.
  • Pets with chronic ear infections - an otoendoscopic exam allows for deep culture, cleaning, and biopsy of the deeper ear canals. 


Will my pet have to be anesthetized for the endoscopic exam? Will they require any special preparation?

All endoscopic exams will require general anesthesia. The good news is that the procedures generally take a short time to complete, and most pets go home later the same day as the procedure. 

Some endoscopic procedures require special preparation and labwork prior to the procedure. For instance, a colonoscopy would require fasting your pet, enemas done in the hospital prior to the procedure, and specific pre-anesthesia labwork. Other endoscopic exams may not require any special preparation. The hospital staff will go over the entire procedure with you and outline any specifics required for your pet.


photo of computer

What is Telemedicine?           

Telemedicine capabilities are an amazing tool that allow specialists to help in the diagnostics and treatment of your pet. Pictures, exam findings, x-rays, ultrasound and endoscopic images, and labwork can all be sent to online specialists for a comprehensive review and evaluation. Recommendations for further diagnostics, treatment, and dietary changes are made in a complete report that is normally received in 1 - 2 days.