Veterinary Teaching Hospital

Outpatient Ultrasound: Instructions for Pet Owners

About Outpatient Ultrasound

The purpose of our Outpatient Ultrasound Service is to provide your primary care veterinarian access to ultrasound exams. This service is only available through your veterinarian.

  • Your veterinarian will remain responsible for the management of your pet up to and following the exam.
  • Your veterinarian will be responsible for ordering the exam 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 Outpatient Ultrasound?

  • Your pet should not eat for 12 hours prior to the exam. 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.
  • 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 your pet’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.


  • If sedation is required for the ultrasound, your pet may be disoriented and off balance for about half an hour after the exam.
  • Your pet will be discharged when he/she is standing and able to move around safely.

What should I expect during the appointment?

  • After checking in with our Small Animal Hospital reception staff, you will be greeted by a member of our radiology team and your pet will be taken to our ultrasound suite.
  • A typical ultrasound exam lasts approximately 45-60 minutes.
  • The radiologist will call your primary care veterinarian after the exam to discuss findings.
  • Your pet will be returned to you when the exam is complete and you will receive a CD containing the images.
  • A written radiology report will be sent directly to your veterinarian within 24-48 hours. Your veterinarian will discuss the findings of the exam with you and make recommendations for further diagnostic procedures or treatment options.