If you're thinking about getting an ultrasound machine for your veterinary clinic, you're definitely on the right track! Having the right ultrasound equipment can be a game-changer, allowing you to provide top-notch care to your furry patients quickly and effectively.
Back in the day, veterinarians heavily relied on MRI and CT scan machines for diagnoses. But those machines were bulky and came with lots of safety precautions because of the radiation they used, which limited their use to specialized facilities. In contrast, ultrasound machines have become more popular because they're easy to access and safe to use. Plus, they offer many advantages in veterinary practice, like convenience, accuracy, cost-effectiveness, and user-friendliness, making them the go-to diagnostic tool for veterinarians
The world of ultrasound has evolved rapidly, giving us portable, compact, and user-friendly machines that provide exceptional imaging quality. These machines have become the go-to choice for day-to-day diagnoses and various ultrasound-guided procedures, even outshining X-rays in visualizing soft tissues and distinguishing fluids from other masses. Choosing the right veterinary ultrasound machine that fits your clinic's specific needs is crucial to get the most out of it. Whether you're diving into your first ultrasound machine purchase or upgrading your existing one, we strongly recommend doing your homework to make an informed decision. Getting an ultrasound machine is a significant financial investment, so it's important to choose wisely.
What is the Best Veterinary Ultrasound Machine for your Clinic?
To help you find the perfect veterinary ultrasound machine, we've put together some tips and factors to consider. You can also check out our 2023 veterinary ultrasound machine guide to get insights into how specific models perform.
Basic vs. Advanced Functionality
Another important thing to think about is what kind of diagnostic functions you'll need on a daily basis. Do you mainly need basic ultrasound for diagnosis, or do you require advanced imaging to detect heart valve issues? Will you be doing diagnostic tests in the field or at your clinic? If you're working with large animals in the field, you might want to consider a refurbished machine to protect your new equipment from wear and tear.
You should also think about whether a black-and-white ultrasound machine will meet your diagnostic needs or if a color Doppler machine would be better. Most practices can start with a black-and-white ultrasound, especially if you're focusing on basic diagnostics like abdominal scans for checking on fetuses. On the other hand, color Doppler ultrasounds allow for advanced cardiac scans and can even measure blood flow speed. They're also great for guiding procedures like injections and biopsies. Consider whether you'll need DICOM connectivity or data management for image transfer. If so, be prepared to look into these additional features.
Some ultrasound machines come with veterinary preset and software settings, while others allow you to customize the settings based on your needs. Choosing a veterinary ultrasound machine with pre-loaded presets can make your work smoother.
Presets streamline your workflow because they require minimal adjustments when switching between different types of scans. For example, you can easily move from imaging a small animal's heart to scanning its abdomen without a lot of tinkering with settings. Presets automatically adjust the imaging parameters like depth, contrast, frequency, and focus based on the organ you're looking at. This can be a huge time-saver when you're dealing with a variety of organs.
Picking the Right Probes
The ultrasound probe is a critical part of the imaging process. It's the part that touches the area you're examining and plays a big role in how well you can see the organs. The type of probe you need depends on the animals you typically see. Different animals require different probes. For example, cats and small dogs need different probes than large dogs. If you're buying your first ultrasound machine, a micro-convex probe with a frequency between 3 MHz and 9 MHz is a good starting point for any veterinary practice. This type of probe can also be used for scanning small animal hearts. For heart scans, a phased array probe is a great choice because it provides enhanced visualization.
As your practice grows and your budget allows, you can expand your probe collection to cover various uses and different types of animals. In general, probes with smaller radii are better for small animals. If you see a lot of cats, consider a high-frequency linear probe for excellent resolution. For larger dogs, probes with better tissue penetration are a good choice. In some cases, like with giant breed dogs, you can even use probes meant for humans because they have a larger radius.
Portability & Ease of Use
Having an ultrasound machine that makes your work more efficient during busy times is a real asset. Look for features like an easy-to-use patient information system for quickly adding, retrieving, and modifying patient details, as well as straightforward interfaces for fast scanning. It's also important that the machine starts up quickly, especially in veterinary practice where it can be a challenge to keep animals still for too long. And don't forget the ability to save images in your preferred file formats.
Portability is a handy feature for a veterinary ultrasound machine. Animals can be fidgety, and sometimes you need to bring the machine to them or where they feel comfortable, especially if they're too sick to move. If your practice involves assessments both in the clinic and out in the field, consider a portable ultrasound machine with a long-lasting battery.
Ideally, go for a compact, lightweight, and portable ultrasound machine. Today's portable ultrasounds offer the same high-quality imaging as the bulkier ones. Plus, they're quieter, which is crucial for veterinary equipment because loud machines can make small animals nervous.
Cost is a big factor when you're looking for the best veterinary ultrasound machine for your practice. The good news is that ultrasound machines come in a range of prices, so you can find one that fits your budget. But remember to strike a balance between cost and quality. Often, the more expensive ultrasound machines provide better imaging, which leads to more accurate diagnoses. And these days, even color Doppler systems aren't as expensive as they used to be.
Keep in mind that there may be additional costs for add-on options, warranties (especially comprehensive or long-term ones), and extra transducer probes, among other things. The overall cost can also vary depending on whether you're buying a brand-new or refurbished model, choosing to pay monthly or in a lump sum, or even leasing the equipment.
Choosing a Reliable Supplier
It's a good idea to pick a supplier or manufacturer that offers a wide range of ultrasound equipment, giving you access to high-quality machines from various reputable brands and in different price ranges. This way, you can find a machine that not only fits your clinical needs but also your budget.
If your supplier provides service, maintenance, and repair services, that's a big plus. It means they can help you take good care of your machine, making it last longer and minimizing downtime due to technical issues. Lastly, check if the supplier can quickly ship replacement parts or supplies if needed. You don't want technical glitches to disrupt your practice and potentially cause a loss of business.
Probo: Your Veterinary Partner
We hope these tips make your search for the perfect veterinary ultrasound machine a bit easier. Investing in the right ultrasound technology can significantly improve the quality and speed of healthcare for your furry patients, who depend on you for accurate diagnoses since they can't communicate their discomfort. We are a diversified supplier of new and refurbished diagnostic imaging equipment, sales, service, rental, repair, and installation of ultrasound, fluoroscopy, x-ray, and c-arm. If you haven't equipped your practice with the right ultrasound machine yet or you're looking to upgrade, don't hesitate to reach out to us today!