Ultrasonography as a technique offers the advantages of being widely available, non-invasive and can often be performed on the conscious patient. However, the environment in which the examination is performed, and patient preparation and co-operation, can have a significant outcome on the quality of the examination. Boisterous or aggressive patients, a noisy environment and blunt clippers can all contribute to a non-diagnostic examination or lead to lesions being missed. A routine, including sedation and general anaesthesia protocols, should be established for all ultrasound examinations. Unstable animals should be stabilised before ultrasound exanimation. For interventional procedures the patient should be immobilised, coagulation status determined and vital parameters monitored.