Ultrasound imaging involves sending high frequency sound waves into the body. An image is generated and displayed on a monitor, based on the ways in which the sound waves are reflected back from the various interfaces within the body.
Is it safe?
Ultrasound imaging for pregnancy diagnosis became widespread for human beings in the 80s, with no adverse effects on the developing foetus. However, it has always been performed by highly trained professionals, using the right equipment, at settings appropriate to the stage of pregnancy.
Just as human obstetric scans are performed by sonographers and not necessarily by doctors, an animal pregnancy scan can be performed by a non-veterinarian, provided no attempt is made to diagnose any conditions; the scanner is offering an opinion-only service, with any concerns immediately referred to a veterinarian. However, unlike in the human world, there is currently no regulation in place regarding the use of ultrasound equipment for external pregnancy scanning. This means that completely untrained individuals are free to purchase the cheapest ultrasound machine they can find from companies with no EU presence or safety certifications, and charge unsuspecting pet owners for pregnancy scans. Unfortunately, this means it is only a matter of time before ultrasound for animal scan services (canine pregnancy scanning, for example) loses its reputation as a safe and accurate way to confirm pregnancy relatively early (around the 30 day mark).
It’s important to know that there are individuals out there who have spent the time to become professional scanners. These people have devoted years to training and practicing their skills, invested heavily in safe and appropriate scanning machines, and are fully insured. The AUA is devoted to protecting and promoting these individuals.
Where can I find an animal pregnancy scanner?
To find a professional near you, simply pop your postcode into the search box on our front page here. For example, if you were looking for an experienced scanner in the Dartford area, you might choose My Pet Baby Scans, based in Kent. Pet owners looking for a reputable dog scanner in Bristol would choose Canine Scanning South West. Rest assured that all the scanners in our directory have had their training, equipment and skill level checked and verified.
How much does a scan cost?
Pricing varies across the UK, but expect to pay anywhere from £30 – £45 for a mobile canine or feline scan (and around £75-£95 for a scan performed at a vet practice). Pricing may be cheaper from individuals not offering a mobile service, such as Sharon Pearce within driving range of Weston-super-Mare, Bath, Trowbridge and Glastonbury. Cattle and sheep scanning tends to be charged per animal, and carry a minimum call-out charge. Less common requests, such as skunk or goat pregnancy scanning, or snake follicle or pregnancy scanning, may be priced differently. Contact the AUA-approved scanner nearest to you, using our postcode search on the front page, for pricing.