Ultrasound is the process of using sound waves to create images of your pet’s abdominal organs, heart or any soft tissue that is not obstructed by air or bone. The sound waves create different shades of grey and color depending on their reflections through different tissues. One major drawback of ultrasound is the hyper-reflectivity of air or bone which makes imaging the lungs, bones or sometimes the stomach and intestine nearly impossible. However, in the soft tissues that are unobstructed, the image patterns can help the sonographer detect structural abnormalities of the larger organs, abnormal masses if present, assess lymphatic tissues, detect the presence of abnormal fluid in the body as well as many other processes. Ultrasound is also the method of choice for imaging the heart and measuring cardiac function. The sound waves are a painless and a non-invasive method of assessing the internal structures of the body.
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Known commonly as CT or CAT scan, computed tomography employs x-rays often in combination with contrast media to create an image of soft and bony tissues inside the body. CT is a more specific method to image the structures that are difficult to see with ultrasound such as lungs, skeletal structures and the gastrointestinal tract. As with ultrasound, CT can detect structural abnormalities of the chest, abdomen, and neck in addition to the spine and head. Like ultrasound, certain abnormalities
can also be detected with CT but computed tomography is superior to ultrasound in assessing vasculature both normal and abnormal. Additionally with the combination of CT and contrast media, studies that highlight abnormal shunting of vessels, ectopia in the urinary tract and abnormal contrast uptake can be performed.