Ultrasound and X-ray for Pets

An ultrasound uses soundwaves to create a detailed image of an organ or body part. They allow veterinarians to evaluate soft tissues and inner parts of the organ. An X-ray (another term for radiograph) uses electromagnetic radiation to visualize the inside of your pet’s body and see the size, shape and angle of denser organs that need medical attention. A radiograph is less meticulous than an ultrasound, so it may not be able to pick up smaller articles, but it’s used on a daily basis. If you believe your pet may be experiencing obstruction or discomfort internally that needs closer inspection, schedule an appointment with us at 403.982.8387.

When would my pet need an ultrasound or X-ray?

Ultrasounds and X-rays are used during pre-surgical examinations, to find abnormalities and to search for foreign objects swallowed by your pet. Below is a list of some conditions and parts of their body we explore:

  • Abdominal ultrasounds for the liver, kidneys, heart, urinary bladder, and more
  • Arthritis in joints
  • Cruciate ligament rupture (tear in the knee)
  • Dental abnormalities
  • Pregnancy

    Depending on the tool we use, we may find swelling, a dislodged joint or a toy they were playing with a few days ago that just disappeared.

    How are ultrasounds and X-rays like for pets?

Ultrasound: Our veterinarians start by shaving your pet’s fur to get closer to the area we need to explore. A handheld probe is waved over their skin and images are transported to a computer. Sometimes, if your pet is fidgety or too curious, we provide a sedative to calm them down. The overall process is not harmful and the only feeling they will have is gentle pressure on their skin from the probe.

    X-ray: We have a special room where we do our X-rays. Since X-rays use radiation to penetrate thicker tissues, owners will not be allowed in the room. However, our veterinarians wear protective gear and provide your pet with covers that shield the parts of their body that are not our focus. The radiograph shines light rays on the targeted region, which is absorbed by the hard organs or bones. This produces a clear monochrome image, where the denser objects/parts appear white, the empty spaces are black and any obstructions or abnormalities are visible.

  • Last updated: April 5, 2021

    Dear Clients,

    With recent changes to restrictions on businesses, we are pleased to advise that effective May 25, 2020 the restrictions on veterinary practices have been lifted. Based on these changes, below are some important updates to our operating policies.

    1. WE CAN NOW SEE ALL CASES BY APPOINTMENT ONLY This includes vaccines, wellness exams, blood work, spays and neuters, dental services, and more!


  • Continue our "closed waiting room" policy to protect our clients and staff. When you arrive, please remain outside the hospital and use your cell phone to call us. We will take a history of your pet's health and discuss any concerns. A staff member will then meet you outside to bring your pet into the hospital for an examination. The Veterinarian will call you to discuss the recommended treatment plan. After your appointment, a staff member will return your pet to you outside, and take care of any needed medications and payment.
  • Continue the use of credit cards as the preferred payment method.
  • Continue with curbside pickup of food and medication (unless you have used our online store and are having your order delivered directly to your home). To place an order through our online store, visit our website and click on "Online Store".
  • 3. OPERATING HOURS We are OPEN with the following hours:
    Monday to Friday: 9:00 am - 6:00 pm
    Saturday: 9:00 am - 2:00 pm
    Sunday: Closed

    5. NEW PET OWNERS Have you welcomed a new furry family member to your home? We’d love to meet them! Visit our Must Know New Pet Owner Information page for useful resources and helpful recommendations for new pet owners.

    Thank you for your patience and understanding and we look forward to seeing you and your furry family members again!

    - The team at Elizabeth Street Pet Hospital