Outpatient Ultrasound Referrals at Mass VetJuly 27, 2021
Outpatient Ultrasound Qualifying Criteria
Abdominal ultrasound is available at Massachusetts Veterinary Referral Hospital on an outpatient basis. Eligible stable patients will need to be referred by their primary veterinarian. Outpatient ultrasound appointments include a case evaluation, an ultrasound exam, and a written interpretation, issued electronically to the referring veterinarian.
Outpatient ultrasound services are offered at Massachusetts Veterinary Referral Hospital for stable patients referred by their primary veterinarian. Outpatient ultrasound appointments are scheduled directly with the radiology service for stable patients meeting specific criteria.
- Outpatient ultrasound is intended for evaluation of the abdomen. Other regions of interest may be available on a case-by-case basis. If the patient is being referred for an ultrasound of the heart or an echocardiogram, they should be scheduled through the cardiology service.
- Patients should be deemed stable by a recent examination (within 30 days) with their referring veterinarian.
- Exceptions to the above notes include chronic issues that the referring veterinarian is managing, where the owners have been following all recommendations and remained in contact with the primary veterinarian such as:
- Ongoing hematuria or urinary tract infections: patients must have had a follow-up urinalysis and have been on medication.
- Elevated liver enzymes: Have been on liver protectants or antibiotics, have had recheck bloodwork, and have been in communication with the referring veterinarian.
- Chronic vomiting: Have been treated for IBD.
- Follow up or recheck ultrasound that an Ethos radiologist has recommended. Please try to book an appointment with the same radiologist for consistency.
A referral and any records and bloodwork from the past year should be received prior to scheduling an appointment. We do not accept verbal referrals from a client or referring veterinarian.
Disqualifying Criteria for Outpatient Ultrasounds
Patients do not qualify for outpatient ultrasounds if they are referred for any of the following reasons. Please advise them to consult with a doctor and/or come in through the emergency room:
- Fluid in abdomen – ascites, hemoabdomen, decreased serosal detail on radiographs (especially with a concern of an abdominal mass).
- Anemia with clinical signs.
- Icteric, jaundiced, or elevated bilirubin; gallbladder mucocele, bile duct obstruction.
- Foreign material or mechanical obstruction.
- Acute Vomiting, multiple episodes over multiple days – confirm clinical signs and discuss with a radiologist or senior technician.
- Fever of unknown origin.
- PSS, Insulinoma.
- Straining to urinate with little to no urine production.
Patients Who Require Sedation
If it is noted on the referral or records that the patient is fractious or requires sedation, an additional estimate should be prepared for the owner. This estimate will include abdominal ultrasound, anesthesia planning, sedation – minor, and medication for sedation ($100-$200).
The primary vet should also be contacted so they can provide oral medications as a pre-procedure sedative for the owner to give at home.
Abdominal ultrasounds vs. other types
- Only abdominal ultrasounds qualify for outpatient ultrasound referrals.
- If the patient is being referred for a neck ultrasound or thoracic ultrasound, they should be referred through the internal medicine or emergency service.
- If the patient is being referred for an ultrasound of the heart or an echocardiogram, they should be referred through the cardiology service.
- If the patient is being referred for a musculoskeletal (i.e. shoulder, tarsus, etc.), they should be referred through the surgery service.
- Patients should be referred through the internal medicine service if there are concerns for a possible insulinoma or if there are concerns for a possible shunt. These patients will often times require more advanced imaging to evaluate the abdomen.
Patient Transfer Reminder
We are experiencing an increase in patient transfers who have not been examined by a doctor prior to transfer. Given our current diversion status, we would ask that all patient transfers have an exam prior to arriving at Mass Vet. This will help us by being able to facilitate triage and treatment for cases based on the PSI model.
If you have any questions or concerns about any potential case transfers, please call us to discuss.