It’s not uncommon for a veterinarian to recommend an ultrasound for your dog. Ultrasounds are the best way to get a look inside your dog’s chest or abdomen. But how much does a dog ultrasound cost? You can expect to pay between $300 and $600 for an ultrasound without pet insurance.3
Let’s take a closer look at how ultrasounds work, what determines the cost, and how much money a dog insurance policy could save you.
An ultrasound, also known as a sonogram, is an imaging technique that uses sound waves. Unlike a radiograph (X-ray), ultrasounds allow veterinarians to get a noninvasive look at your pup’s soft tissues.3
X-rays use low levels of radiation to quickly produce an image of your dog’s bones. Any soft tissue, from cartilage to organs, will only show up as a void or “shadow.” Ultrasound uses high frequency sound waves to build detailed images of tissue, but can’t be used to examine bone. Which one your vet will use depends on what they’re looking for.
You’re probably most familiar with ultrasounds as a way to check on fetus development during pregnancy. If you have a pregnant pooch, your vet will likely use an ultrasound to do just that. There are plenty of other reasons a vet might recommend an ultrasound for dogs, including:
- If you dog has a suspected intestinal blockage
- If your dog swallowed an object
- If blood and urine tests indicate kidney or bladder issues
- If your dog has suffered injury to muscles or ligaments
- If your dog is experiencing heart problems
- If your dog may have cancer
Ultrasounds are noninvasive and painless. The worst your dog will have to endure is a light shave. Sound waves actually don’t travel well through air, so ultrasounds require a gel known as a coupling medium to replace the air between the ultrasound wand and your dog’s skin. The gel needs to be on bare skin, so your vet will likely have to shave the fur where the ultrasound will take place. Most dogs don’t mind this at all, and might actually enjoy the nice belly rub!
As previously mentioned, the typical range for a dog ultrasound cost is $300 – $600. There are several factors that influence the price of the procedure:3
- Time: Ultrasounds take longer than an X-ray to produce an image, which is partly why they cost more. Depending on what the vet is looking for, your dog’s ultrasound could last longer and may cost more.
- Location: Where you live can actually impact how much you pay for veterinary care. Visiting a small town’s clinic is typically going to cost less than a location in the city.
- Expertise: Ultrasounds can be done by a general practice vet or a sonogram specialist. At a general practice, you can expect to pay between $300 – $350. The cost of a sonogram specialist is closer to $500 – $600. Which one your vet recommends will depend on the complexity of the required scan. Checking on your pregnant pooch’s pups can be done quickly by a general practice vet. Looking for torn ligaments or tumors takes more time and is usually handled by a specialist.
- Sedation: Most dogs won’t require any sedation during an ultrasound. If your dog is particularly aggressive or anxious, however, then the vet may need to sedate them for the duration of the scan. This will bump up the total cost of the ultrasound.
Ultrasounds may be pricey, but they’re usually worth the cost. It’s often the only way for your vet to identify what might be making your dog sick. If there is an alternative, odds are it will be more expensive and more invasive. For example, if your dog has digestive issues, the only alternative to an ultrasound might be an endoscopy.4 But this procedure is far less pleasant for your pooch and can cost up to $2,000.
At the end of the day, we all want to do what’s best for our furry family. If your vet recommends an ultrasound, it’s a good idea to trust their expertise.
Whether it’s a routine check or something more crucial, the bill is the last thing any pet parent wants to worry about when their dog needs an ultrasound. Fortunately, pet insurance could help cover the cost of the procedure.2
An accident-only policy will reimburse the price of ultrasounds if your dog gets hurt and needs emergency care. Scans for pregnancy and chronic issues typically won’t be covered unless you have an accident and illness policy (assuming the chronic issue isn’t a preexisting condition).
How much you can expect to save depends on the premium, deductible, and reimbursement rate of your plan. MetLife Pet Insurance offers policies for as low as $15 per month and reimbursement rates up to 100%. That could mean a whole heap of savings for you and your pup. Find out more with a free dog insurance quote today.