From Life To Death: How Veterinary Ultrasound Systems Determine What To Do Next

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Mother animals trying to carry and bear their young run more risks of injury and death than human mothers. The reason for this is that animals generally do not have access to the level of prenatal care that human mothers do. When you involve a vet, it is because the mother animal is in trouble or something has gone awry with her pregnancy. If you and your vet use veterinary ultrasound systems, you can actually help prevent some of the animal losses you may have suffered otherwise. These machines can also determine life and death situations and what you should do next. Here is how that works.

Movement of Live Fetuses

Vet ultrasound machines can check animal mothers to make sure there is still movement of live fetuses inside. These machines also check for fetal heartbeats, a vital piece of information that will help you and the vet decide what you should do next. In many pregnant animals, one or more dead fetuses endangers the health of the mother because the dead ones begin to rot and poison the mother. Likewise, as the mother is affected, any living fetuses remaining may be poisoned, die, and/or self-abort. That is why an ultrasound to confirm pregnancy and a check halfway through the pregnancy with an ultrasound is a very good idea.

Images of Birthing Issues

As the mother animal goes into labor, it should progress quickly and easily. When labor is stalled, it can cause many health problems for the mother and any other babies that are stuck behind the one in the birth canal. A veterinary ultrasound machine can help the vet see why labor has stalled. Then the vet can try to move the baby around to get the birthing process started again, using the ultrasound imaging to aid the manual manipulation. If a baby has completely blocked the birth canal or is coming breach, the vet may decide to reach in and try to help pull the baby animal out. This is common with larger animals, but in smaller animals, such as cats or exotic pets, a C-section may be necessary or the mother and babies could all die.

Monitoring the Mother's Heart Rate During Labor and Delivery

Sometimes large mother animals have defects in their hearts or lungs, much like human mothers. This makes labor and delivery more complicated and riskier. Using the ultrasound to monitor the mother's heartbeat and health during this time will show you and/or your vet if the mother will make it through this process. If her life is in danger, or the pregnancy will be too much for her, your vet and you will have to decide (based on the ultrasound images and monitoring) if you should deliver the baby early, abort the baby, or deliver the baby to term and put the mother down because she will not survive the delivery.