Investing in an ultrasound scanner is a large investment by most small animal veterinary practices and we encourage carrying out thorough research before making any decisions. Therefore, we have prepared some questions that we feel will help you make the right decision.
Q 1 : Does the small animal ultrasound scanner come with the veterinary specific pre-sets already loaded?
With pre-sets, you can easily choose a veterinary clinical application that minimises the adjustment needed to achieve a good image.
For example, you can set the machine up to look at a dog abdomen or a cat’s heart and the algorithms behind the image will change as appropriate. They will automatically choose the relevant frequency, contrast, depth and focus settings to give you a good starting point so that you are ready to go with minimum adjustment.
Some more questions to ask about pre-sets are:
• Can the scanner be set up to change imaging parameters for heart and abdomen in cats and dogs?
• Are pre-sets fixed or can they be adjusted to suit the individual preferences?
Q 2: What probes are best for small animal practitioners?
The next thing you need to consider while choosing a veterinary ultrasound scanner is the probes you require. Generally, the probe is the most sensitive, delicate and most expensive part of an ultrasound scanner.
A small footprint micro-convex probe with a frequency of around 8 MHz and a small radius is best suited for scanning Small animal abdomens. These probes can also be used to scan heart.
A small footprint probe with a frequency range of 3-5MHz and larger radius is better for larger breeds may be better.
If you frequently see cats, a high-frequency linear probe can give very good resolution pictures. This probe is also suitable for ophthalmology.
So, if you are just starting out using ultrasound, we recommend going for a micro-convex probe and add others later as required.
Q 3: Is a small animal ultrasound scanner easy to use?
You should also consider how easy the scanner is to use. While trying the equipment, make sure that you find it friendly to use. Also, check how easy it is to add patient details, adjust the image, freeze and save the image in a format that suits you.
The speed at which the scanner gets started is also something to consider. You don’t want to wait too long if you are going to be using your scanner often.
Q 4: How much should an ultrasound scanner cost?
Your budget is one of the important factor while considering which ultrasound scanner is best for you.
Generally, the more you invest, the better image quality you can have. The better the image quality, the simpler it is to interpret the image.
When considering the price of an ultrasound scanner, you need to decide whether you need doppler or not.
Q 5: Which company should I go to for my small animal ultrasound scanner?
Another important question is when choosing your ultrasound scanner is the partner you choose to invest in.
The following areas are benefits that we persistently strive to provide for all our customers and we feel that it allows us to offer a complete solution.
We think that it is always better to get your scanner from a company that has been around a while and will still be here in the following years that you own the scanner. This is so that if you have any issues with your scanner, you should have the support and get back to scanning quickly and effectively.
- Clinical and equipment training
Also, it is important to find partners that offer equipment, as well as clinical training on your new scanner, so you can achieve the skills necessary in order to get the most out of your system.
Finally, before investing in a scanner, it’s always a good idea to get some advice from other vets. Ask people you know and rely their experience with the companies they invested in and what they thought of their products, service and support.