Small Animal Ultrasound

Small Animal Ultrasound

Ultrasonography plays a crucial role in the investigation and diagnosis of a multitude of conditions affecting dogs, cats and other species.  

The versatility of ultrasound is considerable, from examining abdominal organs to musculoskeletal structures, as well as its use in Abdominal and Thoracic Point of Care Ultrasound examinations (POCUS). Whether you are just starting out in small animal practice and want to understand the fundamental principles, or are more experienced in ultrasonography and are looking to advance your skills and interpretation, IMV imaging has many resources to help you achieve your goal.  

Getting Started

With a wide range of ultrasound applications, it can be difficult to know where to begin. Understanding the fundamentals, key controls and transducer types is the first step, but it is important to consider how the equipment will be used and your level of expertise.

How do I decide which ultrasound machine to buy?

If you are buying your first scanner, IMV imaging can help with every aspect. From deciding which ultrasound machine will suit your needs, to keeping the equipment in prime condition, and then of course mastering your technique, our resources and CPD courses can help.  

Similarly, if you are looking to upgrade your equipment, or are interested in how the latest scanner technology could benefit your practice, get in touch.  

Which ultrasound machine would be best suited for emergency and critical care?

If your caseload primarily consists of emergency and critical care patients, then consider one of our wireless ultrasound scanners, which aid in the early and accurate detection of free fluid for both triage and hospitalised patients.  

Which ultrasound machine is best for echocardiography?

Getting to the heart of the issue is always important, so if your interests lie in echocardiography, IMV imaging is here to guide you through the necessary machine functions and equipment you will need to make accurate assessments and measurements of cardiac function.  

What types of Ultrasound Machines are available?

Tablet-style machines:  

Transducers got you in a tangle? 

Deciding which transducer is most suited to the ultrasound examinations you are performing can be difficult.  

Which is the best all-round transducer?

For most ultrasound examinations in small animal practice, a microconvex transducer is the most versatile. These enable examination of both the abdominal and thoracic cavities, as well as being the transducer of choice for POCUS examinations.  

Which transducer is best for echocardiography?

For cardiac examinations, a phased array transducer is recommended. These transducer designs generate a very high pulse repetition and allow a higher image frame rate that can accommodate the rapidly moving heart. Phased array transducers also facilitate the Doppler assessment of high velocity blood flow. 

Which transducer is best for scanning superficial structures? 

If you want to predominately examine more superficial structures, especially in cats, then a linear transducer is a must! These transducers scan at higher frequency ranges and result in images with improved resolution.  

For a linear design that is a little more specialised, “hockey stick” transducers have an ultra-small footprint, making them perfect for scanning intra-operatively, examining small exotic species, and for ophthalmic ultrasound.  

What is Doppler ultrasonography?

By utilising Doppler ultrasonography, you can visualise the direction and velocity of blood flow.  

Most commonly used in echocardiographic examinations, Doppler enables the identification of areas of abnormal or turbulent blood flow relating to alterations in cardiac function.  

However, the use of Doppler ultrasound is not solely limited to echocardiographic examinations. In abdominal ultrasound, Doppler can be used to document the presence, absence, and pattern of blood flow, to both abdominal organs and areas of pathology.  It is also incredibly useful for mapping local vascular structures prior to performing tissue sampling.  

Having trouble?

If you are having any problems with your ultrasound machine, IMV imaging is here to support you. Whether you need help with image optimisation, kit replacement or essential maintenance; our Account management, Clinical and Service teams are ready to assist you. 

Learning More…

In addition to our IMV Academy online and in-person CPD courses, IMV imaging have a library of learning resources to develop your skills. There are journal clubs, webinars and podcasts on a range of ultrasound-related topics, but if you are looking for information on a specific anatomical region, then check out our list of guides and articles below:

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