The doctors at Angell scan their patients using an Aplio 700 ultrasound machine (in Boston) and a Toshiba Xario (in Waltham). 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 (i.e., layers of the intestinal wall), functionality (i.e., 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.
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 Waltham. Not available in Boston)