Focused Ultrasound in Veterinary Medicine

November 28, 2017
Amanda Carrozza

Amanda Carrozza is a freelance writer and editor in New Jersey.

Focused ultrasound is a noninvasive therapeutic technology that is now being explored as a treatment option for medical conditions in the veterinary field.

In humans, focused ultrasound has been studied for its potential to transform the treatment of many medical conditions, including cancer, epilepsy, psychological disorders, cardiac arrhythmias, and Alzheimer’s disease. The possible uses of focused ultrasound are now being explored in the veterinary field as well.

Focused ultrasound is a noninvasive therapeutic technology that uses ultrasonic energy to target tissue in inaccessible areas without the need for incisions or radiation. Focused ultrasound uses an acoustic lens to concentrate multiple intersecting ultrasound beams with extreme precision and accuracy on a target located deep in the body. There is no effect on tissue where individual beams pass through, but at the focal point, the merging of the numerous beams creates the possibility of treating medical disorders.

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In veterinary medicine, a number of promising uses for focused ultrasound have the potential to change the industry, including drug delivery, noninvasive spaying, wound healing, and pain relief for arthritis and hip dysplasia. Currently, the technology is being studied for its use in eliminating tumors. In fact, the Focused Ultrasound Foundation has launched a veterinary program to treat naturally occurring soft tissue tumors in dogs using focused ultrasound.

Focused ultrasound offers advantages over traditional medical treatments in animals mainly because, as a noninvasive treatment option, there is no need for stitches (and in turn E-collars), it has a low rate of complications, and the risk for infection is greatly diminished.