Diagnostic Imaging: Ultrasound Service

The radiologists at Angell scan their patients using a Toshiba Aplio 300 ultrasound machine. The most commonly requested study is an abdominal ultrasound, but other studies that are frequently performed include ultrasonographic evaluation of the neck (i.e., for a thyroid or parathyroid tumor), thorax, or shoulders.

Ultrasound is a powerful diagnostic tool and allows us to evaluate morphology (ie, layers of the intestinal wall), functionality (ie, peristaltic activity of the intestine) and thoroughly evaluate for pathology or anatomic variants. With Doppler interrogation, we can determine if there is normal or abnormal blood flow to an organ, or look for vascular anomalies such as portosystemic shunts.

The majority of the patients we evaluate are in-hospital patients (“inpatients”) who are being cared for by either the Internal Medicine service or Critical Care department, and are typically very ill.

Occasionally we will require sedation for our ultrasound patients to help ease their stress and relax, allowing us to better evaluate their abdominal organs. It should be noted that recent research shows a significant difference in lesion detection using abdominal CT in dogs greater than 25kg compared with abdominal ultrasound (Fields, 2012). What this means is that our ability to evaluate structures is limited by the size of our patients, and we may recommend alternate imaging modalities for very large breed dogs.

Ultrasound-guided fine needle aspirates are performed regularly if an abnormal lesion is detected, and the samples are submitted to our in-house clinical pathologist. Ultrasound guided biopsy is also an available procedure.

We have 3 “outpatient” appointments a day for stable patients. This appointment would be scheduled through your Angell veterinarian. We are able to accommodate one pre-scheduled case per day for stable patients who present from local referring veterinary hospitals. There are very specific requirements for “RDVM outpatient studies,” as the results of the scan will be communicated to the owner by the referring veterinarian and not by the Angell staff. This is akin to a human going for an outpatient ultrasound study and receiving the communication from their primary care physician.

Below are links to our information sheets about outpatient ultrasound for stable feline and canine patients:

Information for clients

Client Information sheet and FAQs

Information for referring veterinarians

Online Referral Form for RDVMs (for Boston or Waltham)

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