Clipping the animal's hair over the transducer positions is usually necessary
to avoid trapped air which would result in a poor image. Soaking the skin with
spirit or alcohol helps to reduce air artefact, and also reduces the amount of
ultrasound required. Animals with short thin coats may only require soaking with
spirit, out clipping. A liberal application of acoustic ultrasound gel should
then be placed on the transducer and/or the animal.
The animal is preferably placed in lateral recumbency, on a suitable table (as
described above) with its legs towards the echocardiographer. Manual restraint
Is necessary, not only to keep the animal still while it is scanned, but also
to prevent it from damaging the ultrasound system or transducers. The underside
foreleg should also be pulled forward, thus removing the animal's elbow from
the cardiac apex.
In some cases it may be detrimental, or difficult, to restrain an animal in lateral
recumbency. In these cases alternative positioning of the animal is necessary.
In many instances good images can be obtained with the animal standing, sitting
or in sternal recumbency.
Sedation is not usually required in dogs, but is usually necessary in cats to
facilitate restraint. Sedation will not usually interfere with obtaining a diagnosis,
but may alter assessment of severity and therefore prognosis of a cardiac disease.
Cardiac ultrasound systems have a single lead ECG monitor for the purposes of
a timing reference. The clips should be attached and a good ECG trace noted prior
Back to menu