Is it safe?

Why get your pet scanned? And is it safe?

Having a canine or feline pregnancy ultrasound scan performed by a specialist has several benefits:

  • Confirming pregnancy and viability from 30 days: A well-trained, experienced scanner can confirm not only pregnancy but also check foetal viability. This means looking for a heartbeat or movement from the unborn puppies or kittens.
  • Checking the progress of the pregnancy: There is no ‘cut-off point’ for ultrasound. Your dog or cat can be scanned right up until they are due. This means that, even if you decide later in her pregnancy that you would like a scan for your pet, you can still get this done. Some people even like to have several scans performed throughout their pet’s pregnancy. If you are worried about your pregnant pet, though, it is really important that you seek the advice of a veterinarian – not a lay scanner.
  • It can be done outside of a veterinary practice: Whether someone comes to you to perform the scan in your own home, or you visit them, either way, the scan does not need to be performed inside a veterinary practice. This keeps stress levels down for your pet, and also enables you to be part of the examination, rather than your pet being taken away from you to another room for her scan.
  • It will be performed by someone who specialises in pregnancy scanning: A lay scanner will never have the knowledge or scope of a veterinarian, but they will become more skilled and experienced at using ultrasound for pregnancy scanning specifically. This is because they specialise in this one skill, and perform it hundreds of times per year. An AUA-accredited lay scanner, vet or vet nurse will have chosen to specialise in small animal pregnancy scanning, so you know that your animal will be seen by one of the UK’s best.

But is ultrasound safe?

Ultrasound has an impeccable safety record, in large part due to a commitment by those who use it to do so appropriately. This means that they use the right equipment for the job; understand the physics behind the equipment they are using and know, therefore, how to use it appropriately and safely; and invest in ongoing professional development, staying up to date with the latest developments in ultrasound.

In the wrong hands, ultrasound certainly has the potential to do harm. It deposits sound energy into the body, which when used correctly and at the appropriate time of gestation, will do no harm at all. However, at certain periods of gestation, the foetus is more sensitive to heat than others, and this knowledge informs scanning time windows and power output settings of scanning professionals.

In addition, true scanning professionals invest in a machine and transducers which are appropriate to the task in hand. Responsibly sourced scanning machines will be CE marked, properly calibrated for animal use, and will have the Thermal Index and Mechanical Index accurately measured and displayed on the monitor.

By using an AUA approved scanning professional, you can be sure that the equipment they use complies with current EU safety standards, and that the individual in question has been properly trained and continues to be actively involved in their ultrasound education.

By using an AUA scanner, we can protect the reputation of our industry and the health of your animals, and ensure that pregnancy scanning remains  safe.


Above: example of a 5 week pregnancy scan in a dachshund.