How much does a dog ultrasound cost?
Ashburn, VA

How much does a dog ultrasound cost?

Ashburn, VA

How much does a dog ultrasound cost?

$300 – $600average dog ultrasound cost

Get free estimates for your project or view our cost guide below:

$300 – $600 average dog ultrasound cost

Get free estimates for your project or view our cost guide below:
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Tamatha Hazen
Written by
Tamatha Hazen
Edited by
Tara Farmer
Fact-checked by
Kristen Cramer

Average cost of a dog ultrasound

A dog ultrasound costs $300 to $600 on average, depending on the ultrasound type and provider. Pregnancy sonograms typically cost $300 to $500. Canine musculoskeletal ultrasounds cost $350 to $500, and cardiac echocardiogram prices range from $400 to $600. Costs are often higher at specialty clinics compared to general veterinary practices.

Dog ultrasound prices
Type Average cost
Pregnancy sonogram $300 – $500
Abdominal ultrasound $300 – $500
Musculoskeletal ultrasound $350 – $500
Cardiac ultrasound (Echocardiogram) $400 – $600
Doppler ultrasound $500 – $600

Pregnancy sonogram

The most common reason for a dog ultrasound is to determine pregnancy. A dog pregnancy ultrasound costs $300 to $500 and focuses on the dog’s reproductive organs and fetal development.

A pregnancy sonogram can detect gestational sacs as early as 18 to 21 days after breeding, but many vets wait until 25 days after breeding to monitor fetal development and detect potential issues. Later scans around 25 to 35 days can provide a more accurate puppy count.

Abdominal ultrasound

A general abdominal ultrasound costs $300 to $500. An abdominal ultrasound is similar to a pregnancy sonogram but examines all the organs and structures within the abdominal cavity, not just the reproductive organs. Vets use abdominal ultrasound to evaluate the health and function of the liver, kidneys, stomach, and intestines.

Musculoskeletal ultrasound

A musculoskeletal ultrasound costs $350 to $500. This valuable diagnostic tool allows veterinarians to closely examine a dog's tendons, ligaments, and muscles for signs of injury or disease. These ultrasounds allow for repeated, cost-effective monitoring of injury healing and rehabilitation.

Musculoskeletal ultrasound can also guide regenerative medicine treatments like platelet-rich plasma (PRP) injections. Ultrasound allows the veterinarian to see the precise location of the injury or affected soft tissue structure, such as a tendon or ligament and accurately guide the needle to deliver the regenerative therapy directly to the target area.

Cardiac ultrasound

A dog cardiac ultrasound, also known as an echocardiogram, costs $400 to $600. Vets use these images to assess the sizes, shape, and movements of the heart’s chambers, valves, and surrounding structures. This helps them diagnose various heart diseases and abnormalities, such as valve problems, cardiomyopathy, congenital defects, and more.

Doppler ultrasound

A dog Doppler ultrasound costs $500 to $600 for the enhanced imaging technique that uses the Doppler effect to visualize blood flow and organ function. In a Doppler ultrasound, the sound waves bounce off moving blood cells within the dog's blood vessels.

By analyzing these returning sound waves, the ultrasound machine can calculate the direction and speed of the blood flow. This information can help the vet detect abnormalities such as blockages or irregularities in circulation.

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Dog ultrasound cost by provider

Dog ultrasound prices also depend on the veterinary practice. General practices perform ultrasounds for $300 to $400 on average. However, if your dog’s case is particularly complex or your vet doesn’t have the specialized equipment, they may refer you to a veterinary ultrasound specialist who charges $500 to $600.

Dog ultrasound cost by provider
Type Average cost
Vet ultrasound $300 – $400
Sonogram specialist ultrasound $500 – $600

  • Specialists typically have more advanced, higher-grade ultrasound equipment and more highly trained staff to perform the procedure and interpret the results, which leads to higher overhead costs.

  • In cases where the vet requires ultrasound guidance for a surgical procedure or biopsy, the increased skill and equipment of a specialist's office may be necessary.

A veterinarian performing an ultrasound on a dog
A veterinarian performing an ultrasound on a dog

What affects the cost of a dog ultrasound?

Several factors affect the cost of a dog ultrasound:

  • Type of ultrasound: More specialized or advanced ultrasound procedures, like echocardiograms, typically cost more than a simple pregnancy or single-organ ultrasound.

  • Sedation or anesthesia: Sedation for an uncooperative or anxious dog will add to the overall cost of the ultrasound procedure.

  • Clinic location and type: Ultrasound costs may be higher in certain geographic areas with a higher cost of living. Also, specialists usually charge higher rates than a general practice or low-cost treatment clinic.

  • Additional services: The ultrasound cost may not include the initial veterinary exam fee or any additional testing that the vet recommends based on the ultrasound results.

Additional costs and services

In addition to the cost of imaging, most ultrasound appointments require a vet office visit fee, which typically costs $40 to $80. You may also need to pay for sedation, additional diagnostic testing, and a consultation appointment to discuss the diagnosis and necessary treatment.

Cost breakdown for dog ultrasound
Treatment Average cost Purpose
Vet office visit $40 – $80 This fee covers the overhead expenses of running the veterinary practice, including the equipment, staffing, and other administrative costs.
Consultation fee $50 – $150+ Often billed separately from the office visit, this covers the veterinarian’s time and expertise to discuss the results of the diagnostic tests, explain treatment options, and provide recommendations for the dog’s care.
Sedation / anesthesia $50 – $200 Covers costs to sedate a dog during the imaging procedure when necessary to keep the dog still during painful positioning.
Blood work $80 – $300 Blood work can uncover internal issues that may not be visible on imaging, including infections or organ abnormalities.
Ultrasound-guided biopsies $500 – $2,500 Used to obtain a sample of cells or tissue from a specific area of concern, such as a tumor or abnormality. This allows for a more accurate diagnosis, rather than relying solely on external examination or imaging.

What is a dog ultrasound?

A dog ultrasound is a safe and painless diagnostic imaging technique. Ultrasound uses sound waves to create real-time images of your dog's internal organs and structures. Like a human pregnancy sonogram, a dog ultrasound doesn't involve radiation like X-rays.

Dog ultrasound advantages and drawbacks
Advantages Drawbacks
  • More affordable than advanced imaging like CT or MRI scans
  • Non-invasive and painless
  • Allows real-time visualization and immediate results, unlike some other imaging tests
  • Can detect issues like tumors, foreign objects, pregnancy, and heart problems early
  • Helps guide procedures like biopsies and aspirations
  • Can be repeated easily to monitor changes over time
  • Image quality and interpretation depend heavily on the skill and experience of the vet.
  • Ultrasound waves struggle to penetrate air and bone, making it difficult to image certain areas like the lungs or behind bones.
  • The fur in the area being examined must be shaved first.
  • Sedation may be needed for uncooperative or anxious dogs.
  • Additional costs apply if a specialist or radiologist needs to interpret the images.

Steps of a dog ultrasound

A dog ultrasound takes 20 to 60 minutes, depending on the complexity of the exam and whether sedation or anesthesia is needed. The steps for the procedure are as follows:

  1. The technician will gently place your dog on an examination table in a comfortable position and shave and clean the body area being examined, such as the abdomen or chest. If the dog is anxious or uncooperative, they may administer a sedative.

  2. They then apply a conductive gel to the shaved area to help transmit the sound waves from the ultrasound probe into the dog's body.

  3. The veterinarian holds the ultrasound probe (transducer) against the dog's skin and moves it around to obtain different views and images of the internal organs or structures.

  4. The transducer produces high-frequency sound waves that bounce off the internal tissues and organs. It detects the echoes from these sound waves and converts them into electrical signals.

  5. A computer then processes the electrical signals and converts them into real-time images or videos displayed on a screen for the vet to analyze.

  6. After the scan, the vet will discuss their findings with you, explain what the images show, and recommend any further diagnostics or treatments if necessary.

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Why does my dog need an ultrasound?

Ultrasound imaging is a valuable diagnostic tool in veterinary medicine, helping vets accurately diagnose and treat a wide range of medical conditions in dogs. There are several reasons why your dog might need an ultrasound, including:

  • Evaluation of organ health and function: Vets use ultrasound to assess the structure and function of internal organs like the liver, kidneys, and bladder.

  • Characterization of masses or lesions: Ultrasound allows veterinarians to visualize and evaluate abnormal growths, masses, or lesions within the body.

  • Guidance for biopsy procedures: Vets commonly use ultrasound guidance to accurately target and obtain tissue samples from organs or lesions during biopsy or aspiration procedures.

  • Monitoring of pregnancy and fetal development: Vets use ultrasound to monitor the health and development of puppies during pregnancy in breeding dogs.

  • Evaluation of abdominal conditions: Ultrasound imaging of the abdomen can help identify issues like fluid accumulation, organ enlargement, or other abnormalities.

  • Checking for heart conditions: Specialist veterinarians commonly use echocardiograms to investigate heart murmurs, suspected heart disease, and common breed-prone heart conditions, or to evaluate heart health before surgery.

Ultrasounds vs. other diagnostic imaging for dogs

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Ultrasound is a relatively non-invasive way to visualize internal structures and guide diagnostic procedures. The vet may also conduct other diagnostic tests like X-rays to provide a more comprehensive evaluation of a dog's health.

Ultrasound vs. other diagnostic imaging for dogs
Imaging Average cost Description and purpose
Ultrasound $300 – $600
  • Uses high-frequency sound waves to generate real-time visual representations of a dog's internal structures.
  • The non-invasive procedure allows veterinarians to closely examine and assess the condition of soft tissues, organs, and blood flow.
Dog X-ray cost $150 – $150
  • These are the most affordable and commonly used diagnostic imaging tools in veterinary medicine.
  • X-rays help vets diagnose and evaluate a wide variety of medical conditions, injuries, and diseases in canine patients.
CT scan $500 – $1,500
  • Advanced imaging scans use a series of X-rays taken from different angles to create detailed, 3D images of a dog's internal structure.
  • These scans provide a comprehensive, high-resolution view of a dog's internal anatomy and structures affecting the head, bones, organs, and soft tissues.
MRI $2,000 – $3,500+
  • An advanced diagnostic imaging technique that uses strong magnetic fields and radio waves to create highly detailed, 3D images of a dog's internal structures, including the brain, spinal cord, joints, and soft tissues.

Dog ultrasound FAQs

Does pet insurance cover dog ultrasounds?

Pet insurance may cover dog ultrasounds, depending on the plan type. Accident and Illness Plans typically cover the cost of diagnostic tests like ultrasounds. Accident-only plans will only cover an ultrasound if it is related to an accident. Wellness Plans for preventive care do not typically cover diagnostics ultrasounds.

Dog insurance costs $35 to $75 per month on average, depending on the plan and your dog's age and breed.

How long does a dog ultrasound take?

A dog ultrasound examination typically takes 20 to 60 minutes to perform. The length can vary depending on the specific purpose and area the vet is scanning, as well as the dog's cooperation during the procedure.

Do you need sedation for a dog ultrasound?

For a standard dog ultrasound examination, the veterinarian generally does not require sedation if the dog is calm and cooperative. However, if the veterinarian needs to perform a biopsy or the dog is agitated, they may use some form of sedation or anesthesia to complete the procedure safely and effectively.

When can you ultrasound a pregnant dog?

Veterinarians perform ultrasounds on pregnant dogs at various stages:

  • Early detection at 25 to 30 days after breeding to confirm pregnancy and estimate the litter size

  • Fetal development monitoring at 40 to 50 days after breeding to check for heartbeat and assess fetal health

  • Close-to-term monitoring at 60 to 63 days after breeding to determine the number of viable puppies and plan for whelping (delivery)

Questions to ask your vet about dog ultrasound

Asking questions like these can help you better understand the purpose, procedure, and price associated with getting an ultrasound for your dog, so you can make an informed decision with your veterinarian:

  • What is the overall cost of a dog ultrasound?

  • How does the cost compare to other imaging tests like X-rays or CT scans?

  • Why is an ultrasound recommended for my dog?

  • Does my dog need any preparation for the ultrasound, such as fur shaving or fasting?

  • How long does a typical dog ultrasound examination take?

  • When can I expect to get the results?

  • Will my dog need sedation for the ultrasound?

  • Will you or a specialist, interpret the ultrasound results?

  • Are any follow-up steps or additional tests needed based on the ultrasound results?

  • Are there any lifestyle changes or management strategies you suggest based on the ultrasound findings?

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