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E.I. Medical Imaging Portable Ultrasound Solution Blog

How Often Should My Veterinarian Ultrasound My Pregnant Broodmare?

Posted by Mia Varra on Tue, May 21, 2013 @ 03:10 PM

ultrasound mare

Written by: Dr. Erika Wierman, E.I. Medical Imaging

How Often Should Your Veterinarian Ultrasound Your Pregnant Broodmare?

So you've decided to breed your mare! This can be a very exciting time, but it can be overwhelming as well. The process is at times frustrating if you encounter fertility issues, and can be expensive even when everything goes perfectly. Once your mare is bred, routine ultrasound exams should be scheduled. The following is a list of exams that your veterinarian may wish to conduct:

14 day equine ultrasound

14 Day Equine Ultrasound taken with the Ibex® Portable Ultrasound

1.) 14 day Equine Ultrasound - Two weeks post ovulation will be your mare's first pregnancy check. At this point the embryonic vesicle will look like nothing more than a small (~1.5cm) fluid-filled round structure in the uterus. The purpose of this exam is essentially two fold; it confirms pregnancy and allows for early identification of twins. In the first couple weeks of pregnancy, the embryo is moving, unattached, throughout the uterus. Approximately 17 days post-ovulation, it implants into the uterine lining, where it will grow to term. Therefore, it is important that twins be identified prior to the 17th day so that they can be manually separated and one of them terminated (mares are rarely able to carry twins to term, so most often one is sacrificed early to give the other the best chance at survival). If twins are identified after implantation occurs, reduction can become more difficult for the veterinarian and may put the other embryo at risk as well.

2.) 21 day Equine Ultrasound - Because most pregnancy loss occurs early in a mare's gestation, a 3-week pregnancy check can be very useful in identifying embryos that are not developing normally. During this exam, the veterinarian will likely measure the embryo and evaluate the appearance of the fluid within it to determine how viable the pregnancy looks. In the thoroughbred industry, for example, when early foals are preferred and the goal is to have a mare pregnant as early as possible, these frequent exams allow the veterinarian to closely monitor the success of the pregnancy.

28 day equine ultrasound

 28 Day Equine Ultrasound

3.) 28 day Equine Ultrasound - At four weeks post-ovulation, a recognizable fetus and fetal membranes are visible. Most importantly, a heart beat can be seen. This is an important milestone; a strong heart beat (along with normal size and fluid characteristics) is a good indicator that a pregnancy is healthy. This exam may be variable; it may be done as early as 25 days or late as 35 days.

4.) 45 day Equine Ultrasound - By about 40 days of pregnancy, structures called "endometrial cups" have formed in the placental attachment to the uterus. These structures secrete hormones that stimulate the ovaries to produce progesterone in order to maintain the pregnancy. Even if the pregnancy is lost after this point, the endometrial cups will remain and the mare will not return to a normal estrous cycle until they are sloughed at about 120 days. Therefore, this exam lets the veterinarian know that all is well at this critical point. A pregnancy that looks questionable at an earlier exam may be terminated prior to 40 days in order to ensure that the mare can be brought back into season and rebred.

5.) 60 day Equine Ultrasound - Fetal gender determination ("fetal sexing") is a service that is rapidly increasing in demand. A veterinarian skilled in this technique can identify the gender of a fetus with remarkable accuracy at approximately 60 days gestation.

Many veterinarians like to do a "fall check" between 90 and 180 days; this generally involves rectal palpation of the uterus and/or ballotment of the fetus (this is essentially a gentle bouncing of the uterus during rectal palpation. The fetus can be detected as it floats up and down in the fluid-filled uterus). Rectal ultrasound is not generally done at this point, as the fetus is deep enough in the abdomen that it is often not visualized. A couple of exceptions can be made; a mare that is at risk of placentitis might be examined with rectal ultrasound to evaluate the placental attachments, and trans-abdominal ultrasonography may be used to evaluate a pregnancy that is too late-term to visualize rectally.

There may be considerable variation in these exams depending upon the practitioner, the mare involved, and the importance placed on the timing of the pregnancy. Talk with your veterinarian about the frequency of exams that he or she recommends for your mare.

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Tags: veterinary ultrasound, equine pregnancy ultrasound, horse ultrasound, mare ultrasound, how many ultrasounds

Veterinary Practice Tips; Should You Send an E-Newsletter?

Posted by Mia Varra on Thu, May 02, 2013 @ 08:45 AM

written by: Susan Hoffman

Should You Send an E-Newsletter to Your Clients?

veterinary eNewsletter ultrasound

In a word, YES! That is, if you’re committed to publishing content your clients will want to read, so they don’t look upon your newsletter as just another piece of junk-mail. You should commit to distribution on a regular basis, too—monthly or quarterly—because while “content is king, frequency is queen,” as the saying goes.


Set Goals

Think of what you want your newsletter to accomplish. Do you want to announce new practice services, personnel or equipment? Do you need to remind your clientele it’s time for annual vaccines or exams? Are you running any seasonal specials and want to offer a limited-time coupon? Is there any “buzz” about a new equine health threat in your region that you want to address? A good rule of thumb for newsletters—printed or electronic—is to create content your readers will see as practical, timely and useful.

For example: You want to promote your new equine ultrasound equipment.

equine vet enewsletter

• In ad, you might focus on the equipment’s features and benefits, and include a picture of the ultrasound apparatus.

Equine ultrasound, mare pregnancy ultrasound

• In a newsletter, you could recap a short, problem–solution case study demonstrating how the equine ultrasound equipment helped a client, and include a picture of the apparatus in use. You could encourage your clients to contact you if they ever have a similar issue with their horse and how this ultrasound technology helps you deliver better service to them. You could also include a hyperlink to an online, informative video.

See the difference? The e-newsletter may be a bit of an advertisement in sheep’s clothing, but if it honestly contains relevant news and information your clients can use, they’ll look forward to reading every word and viewing the photos or videos. They’ll appreciate your efforts to help educate them. You’ll really pique their interest if you ask them for feedback. What a relationship-builder!

Design and Distribution

E-newsletters need to be inviting to the eye on any typical desktop computer, iPad or even a Smartphone. They should also be consistent with your other marketing and communications pieces, to support your practice’s “brand.” If you don’t have a creative resource in your practice who handles design for you, there are preformatted and customizable templates a-plenty available through the major e-newsletter design and distribution businesses like Constant Contact. Simply Google the words “e-newsletter design” and you’ll see lots of affordable options. These companies also offer metrics reports so you can see which clients accessed your e-newsletter, clicked through to your website, etc. Of course, you’ll need to provide these services with an up-to-date email client list, so your fist step, even before creating your e-newsletter, should be to contact every client to make sure you have their current contact information.


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Tags: Equine enewsletter, veterinary enewsletter, tips to writing a veterinary enewsletter, veterinary ultrasound, horse ultrasound, mare ultrasound, Equine Ultrasound

Just how portable is your ultrasound equipment?

Posted by Mia Varra on Thu, Mar 08, 2012 @ 11:14 AM



by Erika Wierman, DVM



With equine breeding season officially underway, you may be finding yourself re-evaluating your equipment.  Technology changes at lightning speed, and it’s certainly possible that the reliable old ultrasound you’ve been using for years is just pretty darn obsolete now.  While many factors must be considered in the search for a new one, I’d like to take a minute to talk about portability.

Can you do this with your ultrasound?

equine ultrasound

Dr. Skavdahal demonstrates the portable IBEX® Ultrasound in a pouch around his waist and hands-free imaging headset glasses used to view the image in sunlight situations. Dr Skavdahal walked right into a pasture of passive broodmares to perform a pregnancy diagnosis ultrasound.

Anything with the capacity to be moved might be considered portable, really.  Many of the “portable” ultrasound systems from a decade ago, for example, weigh upwards of 30 pounds!  Now I don’t know about you, but lugging that thing stall to stall and barn to barn does not sound like fun to me.  Furthermore, it’s doing nothing for your practice in terms of efficiency.

battery power ultrasound

That machine takes up a lot of room in your truck and is probably sitting alongside dozens of feet of extension cord as well.  While battery-powered systems are much more common these days, remember that not all batteries are created equal.  Consider charge life, ask about the number of charge cycles that the battery is rated to, and investigate any memory and cold-weather issues.

equine ultrasound

And how about mobility and self-containment?  Are you able to function adequately during a late night emergency with limited barn help and no technician? 

 brood mare ultrasound

And what good is portable if your small ultrasound has poor resolution, is extremely fragile, and isn’t backed by a reputable company with a history of exquisite service?

What to consider when shopping for a portable ultrasound

1. Quality. Image quality, transducer quality, features and functions of a system should be considered before purchasing. Don’t get “over-sold” on features that are not used in your business but concentrate on the things that are most important to you and your clients. However new systems have software upgrades that can allow your equipment to grow with you when the time is right.

2. Durability. A portable ultrasound system will go through the rigors of multiple environments so a system built to withstand moisture, dust and shock is important to consider.

3. Service & Warranty. Be sure that the system is manufactured from a reputable company that stands behind the product and will be in business to repair and service your equipment for years to come. It is true that you get what you pay for and a few extra dollars at the time of purchase can be a smart investment over many years.

This is true portability.

Ibex portable ultrasound
The Ibex® portable ultrasound is the very definition of portable.  With the Pro model weighing in at 5.7 pounds with the battery installed, it is among the lightest machines on the market.  It boasts a long and reliable battery life and performs well in the cold.  It has been designed to be worn on the body OR placed on a tabletop, thereby reducing the amount of help or the number of people required for many of your exams.  The Ibex® is water-, dust-, and impact-resistant, has an outstanding image quality, and is proudly offered by E.I. Medical Imaging, the only manufacturer of veterinary-exclusive portable ultrasounds in the United States for over 28 years.



Tags: veterinary ultrasound, portable equine ultrasound, mare ultrasound, Equine Ultrasound, ultrasound for horses, reproductive ultrasound

Three Methods to Improve your Broodmare Ultrasound

Posted by Mia Varra on Wed, Nov 09, 2011 @ 03:54 PM

By Dr. Erika Wierman DVM, E.I. Medical Imaging

Equine portable ultrasound, mare ultrasound

 Three Methods to Improve your Broodmare Ultrasound:

1.)  Obtain the best image possible.  Take the time to completely evacuate the rectum, and use plenty of lube for contact.  If your ultrasound system provides variable frequency transducers, remember to operate at the highest frequency that still allows you enough depth to visualize all the pertinent structures; this will optimize the resolution of your image!  You’ll acquire a higher quality (and larger!) ovary image scanning at 6cm than you will at 12cm.  In addition, become familiar with your equipment; experiment with gain, contrast, and persistence in order to achieve the image that you desire.

2.) Develop a system and be consistent.  For example, if you tend to start at the left ovary, be sure to visualize the entire left horn, the uterine bifurcation, and the entire right horn as you make your way to the right ovary.  On your way out, sweep from side to side, feeling confident that you have observed the entire body of the uterus.  Don’t get in the habit of locating a pregnancy and aborting the rest of the exam; you can only confidently rule out twins or pathology if you know that you have carefully inspected the entire reproductive tract.

3.) Take necessary measures to stay safe.  Maiden mares in particular can be extremely tense during a rectal exam, which can be dangerous for everyone involved.  In addition to the threat posed to your own safety, a mare who moves excessively and has increased muscle tone is at higher risk of rectal perforation.  Don’t be afraid to use sedatives to quiet an anxious mare, or a spasmolytic such as Buscopan to reduce smooth muscle contractions and facilitate palpation.  The image you achieve will be more diagnostic, and both you and the horse will be under less stress.


Learn more about the IBEX ultrasound at the AAEP 2011 Booth #6082

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Tags: horse ultrasound, mare ultrasound, Equine Ultrasound, broodmare ultrasound

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