ULTRASOUND AND ECHOCARDIOGRAPHY
The ultrasound machine is one of the most widely used imaging tools in medicine, second only to radiographs (x-rays). It is commonly used to diagnose pregnancy in both people and animals, so that’s what most pet owners are familiar with, but we use the ultrasound machine for lots of other things as well. An ultrasound scan is safe and economical. Unlike with
x-rays, no ionizing radiation is produced by the ultrasound machine.
An ultrasound machine transmits sound waves at a much higher frequency than we can hear with our ears. The sound waves reflect back in greater or lesser amount depending on the density of the material they hit. The reflected sound waves that bounce back are picked up by a receiver. A computer analyzes the time delay and amplitude of the returning echo and forms an image on a screen. The depth of a structure producing an echo is determined by the amount of “round trip” time of the transmitted pulse of sound and the returning echo. Fluid and tissues reflect sound the best. Air, gas and bones prevent the transmission of the sound wave.
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