If you're in the market for a new veterinary ultrasound machine, you have an array of models from which to choose. To select the best ultrasound unit for your practice, consider these five ultrasound features and how they relate to your specific patient care needs.
1. Image Type
Standard ultrasound machines deliver images in black and white. Flat, thin sections of the patient's body are revealed on the ultrasound screen in real time, which allows you to visualize tumors, broken bones, diseased organs. Some modern ultrasound machines can format the images into 3-D views of patients' inner organs.
Black and white ultrasound machines are valuable tools in the average veterinary practice. They can help you see and diagnose illnesses, injuries, and diseases.
If you choose a black and white ultrasound unit, look for a machine with high sound-frequency capabilities and multi-frequency probes. The higher the frequency used, the crisper the black and white image.
Color doppler machines deliver images in full color. The machines are pricier than black and white ultrasound machines, but they allow technicians and veterinarians to see an animal's blood flow in greater detail. Both the speed and direction of blood flow can be visualized with color doppler machines.
If your practice treats a large number of animals with cardiac or blood-flow issues, a color doppler machine is a worthwhile investment. Practices engaged in telemedicine benefit from color doppler with Digital Imaging in Communications and Medicine (DICOM) capabilities. The color units deliver clear images of cardiac and vascular conditions.
When assessing cats, dogs, and larger animals with ultrasound technology, you need a sturdy, durable ultrasound machine. The case, handles, and screen should be able to withstand the rigors of daily use in the veterinary setting.
Look for features including strong plastic housing and smooth seams where the components meet. Cart-based systems should be stable and easy to mount on portable carts. Ask other veterinarians about their experiences with the durability of various brands of ultrasound machines.
Your ultrasound supplier can advise you on which units are more impervious to dust, dander, and liquids. Protective accessories may be available for your chosen unit's probes and screen.
If your practice treats horses, cattle, sheep, and other livestock in the field, you can perform diagnostic work on site with a portable ultrasound unit. Portable ultrasound units are helpful for any veterinarian who makes house calls.
When you need an ultrasound machine for in-clinic diagnostics only, a stationary or cart-based ultrasound unit is fine. Some stationary and cart-based units use heavier, large CRT screens to display images, so make sure your clinic has room for the complete stationary or cart-based system.
Portable ultrasound machines are often a better choice for a busy veterinary practice, even if you only examine and treat pets in house. The portable machines can be moved from room to room, so you don't have to relocate anxious veterinary patients during their diagnostic imaging procedures.
Select an ultrasound machine that connects with your existing veterinary office equipment. Most modern ultrasound machines include USB ports, probe connections, and ports to connect the machines to other computers and display monitors.
Smaller ultrasound machines may not have extra ports or enough connections to deliver data in efficient ways. Record-keeping and data storage may be compromised by an incompatible ultrasound unit.
If your practice requires ultrasound video clips or you need to send images over the internet, you want an ultrasound unit that has network connectivity and DICOM imaging capabilities. Ask your ultrasound supplier to show you machines that are compatible with your existing programs and IT systems.
5. Ease of Use
Any ultrasound machine requires trained staff to deliver the best images. As you browse the various types of ultrasound machines on the market, look for units that include comprehensive training materials. However, if a unit is too complex to use without many hours of staff training, the unit is not an efficient tool.
Choose ultrasound units with buttons and displays that are easy to access during procedures. Slide controls on some units include time gain compression (TGC) for brightness and deep imaging. TGC slide controls should be easy for the operator to manipulate while managing patients.
Depth and resolution buttons should also be easy to adjust during a diagnostic procedure. If multi- frequency probes are included with your unit, the probes should switch out quickly while the ultrasound unit is in use.
Software for your ultrasound unit is also a consideration. Choose an ultrasound unit with software that's easy to upgrade and install.
When you choose a used ultrasound machine, check the status of the unit's operating software. Outdated ultrasound-imaging programs may not include technical support for the end user. Select used machines that offer current veterinary diagnostic software to avoid disappointment.
Find your next new or used veterinary ultrasound machine with KeeboVet Veterinary Ultrasound Equipment today. We have multiple units in stock to ship to your veterinary practice, and our knowledgeable staff offer top-notch customer support.