Veterinary Teaching Hospital

Outpatient Imaging: Instructions for Pet Owners

About the Advanced Outpatient Diagnostic Imaging Service

The purpose of the Advanced Outpatient Diagnostic Imaging Service is to provide your primary care veterinarian access to advanced imaging procedures. This service is only available through your veterinarian.

  • Your veterinarian will remain responsible for the management of your animal up to and following the imaging procedure.
  • Your veterinarian will be responsible for ordering the procedure and all results will be sent directly to them.
  • Your veterinarian will be responsible for discussing these results with you and making recommendations for further diagnostic procedures or treatment options.

How should I prepare my pet for Out-patient Imaging?

  • Your pet should not eat for twelve hours prior to the procedure. Therefore, please do not give them any food after 8 p.m. the night before. The presence of food in the stomach interferes with ultrasound exams of the abdomen. Since CT/MR imaging are typically performed under general anesthesia, the same food restrictions apply.
  • You should continue to provide free access to fresh water.
  • Ask your primary care veterinarian for instructions if your pet is on any medications.

Clipping of Hair

To ensure the best ultrasound results possible, we will clip the animal’s hair over the area of interest. For most abdominal exams, the clipped area will extend from the last few ribs to the brim of the pelvis, and about one third of the way up the side towards the back. A larger area may be needed depending on the specific areas being examined and your pet's body shape. For CT/MR, an intravenous catheter will be placed for administration of drugs and fluids. A small area will be clipped at the site of catheter placement.


Your animal may be disoriented and off balance for about half an hour after sedation for ultrasound. For CT and MR, your animal will be monitored as they wake from anesthesia. During these times, your animal will be hospitalized in our wards. Your animal will not be discharged until he/she is standing and able to move around safely.

What should I expect during the appointment?

  • We will start our appointment schedule at 7:30 a.m. Our imaging appointments are scheduled at 15 minute intervals so please arrive prior to your appointment.
  • Your time in the exam room will be brief because information about your animal will have already been submitted by your veterinarian prior to your appointment. If there are any questions as to the imaging procedures, our personnel will contact your veterinarian prior to the study.
  • You will be greeted by a veterinarian working with the imaging service. He or she will collect information and take your animal to a holding facility to await imaging (Ultrasound) or anesthesia (CT/MR).
  • We will contact you as soon as your animal is finished with the procedure or awake from anesthesia. At that time, we will tell you when you can pick up your animal. We will strive to do these procedures as early as possible but since we cannot predict our in-patient caseload, please plan on leaving your animal for the day.
  • At time of discharge, we will provide you with a CD containing the images along with information on the post imaging/anesthesia care of your animal. A radiology report will be sent directly to your veterinarian within 24-48 hours. Your veterinarian will discuss the findings of the study and make recommendations.