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Ultrasound is a type of scan that uses sound waves and echoes to generate an image of the inside of the body. Unlike X-rays that utilizes radiation, ultrasound is relatively safer and is typically used for pregnant women to view their developing fetus.

According to veterinarian Dr. Michael Watts, ultrasounds are particularly effective in imaging soft tissues and structure; common ultrasound sites include the bladder, gallbladder, liver, kidneys, pancreas, spleen, thyroid, testicles, uterus, blood vessels, and more.

An ultrasound scan is usually done by a sonographer, whereas the generated image (i.e. a sonogram) will be interpreted by radiologists, cardiologists, or other medical professionals. It is done by placing a transducer onto the patient’s skin, in which ultrasound between 2 to 18 megahertz will travel through soft tissues and fluids of the body, forming an image as the sound bounces off denser surfaces inside the body. Depending on the type of ultrasound, fasting may or may not be required.

Ultrasound can be used for diagnosis, treatment, and for guidance to specific procedures.