Diagnostic tests help us treat and keep your friend healthy. District Veterinary Hospitals strive to offer the latest in veterinary diagnostics and treatments for your pet. Our comprehensive veterinary service offerings include a variety of diagnostic tools such as:

·       Digital Radiography (X-rays, digital dental radiography)

·       Ultrasound

·       Echocardiogram

·       In-house laboratory

Digital Radiography

As part of our commitment to patient safety, we use digital radiography. With digital radiography, our veterinarians are able to use less radiation to get quality, diagnostic images, which means less stress for your pet. These images are instantly available to help guide your pet’s treatment and allow for easy record sharing with other veterinarians and specialists, as well as for your own records.


An ultrasound is a noninvasive imaging technique that can be used on pets. To perform an ultrasound on your pet, the vet moves a small, hand-held probe gently across your pet’s skin to capture images of the inside of their body.

The probe directs a narrow beam of high-frequency sound waves to the area of interest. These sound waves bounce off of internal structures and reflect back to the probe. They’re then converted to a two-dimensional image displayed on a monitor.


Echocardiograms are similar to an ultrasound and even use the same machine, but look at the heart instead. This allows the veterinarian to understand more about the heart and diagnose, treat, and monitor heart disease in dogs and cats.

When Are Pet Ultrasounds Recommended?

Ultrasounds produce real-time images of what’s happening inside your pet’s body. They provide detailed views of many of the body’s organs, including the kidneys, stomach, spleen, intestines, liver, and gallbladder, making them one of the best diagnostic tests available.

When used with other diagnostic tools, an ultrasound can help vets identify internal problems like blockages, soft tissue damage, and tumors. Vets can also use ultrasounds to monitor pregnancies and fetal health.

We typically recommend ultrasounds when we need more information to explain abdominal abnormalities observed in lab test results, X-rays, or physical exams.

How Can I Prepare My Pet for an Ultrasound?

We advise owners to withhold food from their pets for at least 12 hours before the ultrasound or echocardiogram so we can capture more precise images. Water is typically allowed at all times. Should this be different for your pet, we will let you know.

Once you arrive for the ultrasound appointment, the veterinary staff will likely shave your pet’s fur in the area where they will be placing the probe. Shaving the fur allows for closer contact with the skin, which can help produce clearer images.

We may sedate your pet to ensure they are still for the procedure. We may also sedate your pet if we need to perform a biopsy or aspiration.

To schedule a diagnostic consultation for your pet, call us at 202-888-2090.

What's Next

  • 1

    Call us or schedule an appointment online.

  • 2

    Meet with a doctor for an initial exam.

  • 3

    Put a plan together for your pet.