If your vet recommends an ultrasound for your dog, you’ll likely have some questions about the process, including what it will cost. (Spoiler alert: It’ll run between $350 and $1,000, depending on various factors.)
In the human and veterinary medicine world, ultrasounds are often commonly associated with pregnancy exams but this diagnostic tool is valuable in many other cases.
- The average cost of an ultrasound for a dog ranges from about $350 to $1,000.
- Ultrasounds are commonly used to help vets see and diagnose swallowed foreign objects, intestinal blockages, tumors, muscle or ligament injuries, and heart problems.
- A base Lemonade pet insurance policy can help cover the costs of your dog’s ultrasound for eligible accidents and illnesses.
- Lemonade does not cover ultrasounds related to pregnancy.
What can an ultrasound be used for, and what happens during the procedure?
Vets can use ultrasounds to not only confirm and monitor pregnancy, but also to diagnose health issues in dogs. That includes things like:
- Internal blockages
- Heart issues
- Internal masses
- Internal injuries
- Foreign objects
When performing an ultrasound, your vet will shave some of your dog’s fur and apply ultrasound gel to your dog’s skin.
Then, the vet will move the ultrasound wand across your dog’s body and watch the images on the screen to try to identify a cause for your dog’s illness or symptoms.
How much does a dog ultrasound cost?
The average cost of an ultrasound for a dog ranges from about $350 to $1,000.
Canine ultrasound prices can vary depending on where you live. If you’re in a small town, for example, you’ll often pay lower veterinary care prices than what you would pay in a larger city.
Ultrasound prices will also depend on the veterinary practice. General practices can perform ultrasounds, but if your dog’s case is complex or your vet doesn’t have the tools or expertise in their practice, your vet might refer you to a sonogram specialist.
Sonogram specialists tend to charge higher prices than typical veterinary clinics for this service. An ultrasound exam performed at an emergency animal hospital will also be more expensive than one performed at your regular vet clinic.
What else can affect the cost of an ultrasound?
Several other factors can affect the cost of your dog’s ultrasound.
Some ultrasounds take longer than others, especially if your vet is looking for something like a foreign body that might be difficult to find—like a bone, toy, or sock. The longer the ultrasound takes, the more expensive you can expect it to be.
Additionally, some vets charge a consultation fee for the ultrasound specialist, or an interpretation fee, to evaluate the results. These fees will typically be billed separately from the ultrasound itself.
It’s also possible that your dog might need to be sedated for the procedure. While ultrasounds are totally painless, non-invasive, and radiation-free, some dogs can become anxious or aggressive. Sedation will come at an extra cost, but it can help keep your dog and your vet’s staff safe.
Will pet insurance cover my dog’s ultrasound?
In many cases, yes!
A base policy with Lemonade Pet helps cover the costs of diagnostics, procedures, and medication related to unexpected and eligible accidents and illnesses.
So, for example, pet insurance would help cover the costs of an ultrasound (and any necessary sedation) if your dog is experiencing swelling or pain in the abdomen, or to get a closer look at a new mass or a bump.
Lemonade will also not cover ultrasounds related to pregnancy.
When do dogs require ultrasounds?
An ultrasound procedure is often used to verify and monitor pregnancy in dogs. But your vet may recommend an ultrasound to get a closer look at a certain part of your dog’s body, or to diagnose the cause of various issues in dogs who might have:
- Swallowed a foreign body and is having gastrointestinal issues
- An intestinal blockage
- Bloodwork that suggests kidney or bladder problems
- Swollen lymph nodes, tumors, or an unexplained soft mass
- Sustained a muscle or ligament injury
- Heart problems
- Other unexplained symptoms like ongoing lethargy, vomiting, or diarrhea
What will and won’t show up on an ultrasound?
An ultrasound examination gives your vet a close-up look at many of your dog’s internal organs and structures. This imaging technique uses high-frequency sound waves to create two-dimensional pictures in real time.
Ultrasound waves won’t pass through air or bones, so they aren’t ideal for examining healthy lungs, or your pup’s skeletal system.
Instead, an ultrasound exam is ideal for checking your dog’s abdominal structures, heart function, and soft tissue health.
While ultrasounds can be expensive, they are valuable diagnostic tools. They provide a clearer look at organs than x-rays do, and they’re non-invasive.
Before we go…
Ultrasounds can be an important tool to help your vet to better care for your dog. Remember that you can always ask your vet for an estimate of costs before agreeing to any procedure.
Keep in mind that purchasing pet insurance for your dog can help cover the vet care costs for your best friend if the unexpected ever happens. If you don’t already have a policy, click below to get your price in just a few minutes.
A few quick words, because we <3 our lawyers: This post is general in nature, and any statement in it doesn’t alter the terms, conditions, exclusions, or limitations of policies issued by Lemonade, which differ according to your state of residence. You’re encouraged to discuss your specific circumstances with your own professional advisors. The purpose of this post is merely to provide you with info and insights you can use to make such discussions more productive! Naturally, all comments by, or references to, third parties represent their own views, and Lemonade assumes no responsibility for them. Coverage may not be available in all states.