Ultrasounds are typically done with the pet lying on a table. The veterinarian holds a transducer or probe against the belly skin. As the transducer is moved over the skin, it sends sound waves to the structures inside, which are then translated to black-and-white real-time images on a screen. Hair does not conduct sound waves well, so the pet’s belly is usually shaved beforehand. Alcohol or ultrasound gel may be used to provide better conduction.
Ultrasounds are usually painless and often performed in a quiet, dark room. Most pets are able to lie comfortably without stress and with minimal restraint during the brief procedure. Most pets do not need sedation. Almost all pets can safely undergo an ultrasound, regardless of medical concerns.