I’ve been thinking a bit lately about a conversation I have frequently with my colleagues. It’s one that questions the need for and the appropriateness of ultrasound use in a general companion animal practice. I repeatedly hear veterinarians bemoaning the time required to learn to perform ultrasound, the expense of implementing it, and the potential liability in interpreting it. They often tell me that they have a “wonderful traveling radiologist/internist” who comes in at a regular interval to conduct ultrasound exams on their accumulated cases.
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In our last blog, we looked at fetal aging via ultrasound as a big benefit of imaging over traditional palpation in bovine reproduction.
Fetal aging via ultrasound exam is another big benefit of imaging over traditional palpation in bovine reproduction, as being able to visually assess the pregnancy improves accuracy significantly. Aging is employed in many situations; it can be done to delineate AI from bull-bred pregnancies, to separate animals into calving groups and monitor for dystocias, and to maximize nutritional efficiency throughout the stages of pregnancy, to name a few. While aging via ultrasound is traditionally done prior to 120 days of gestation, we are able to obtain measurements later than ever with the advent of deeper-penetrating, wider field-of-view transducers.
Identification of fetal anomalies or accidents of gestation can not be done in a practical manner during gestation without the use of diagnostic ultrasound, and is one of many examples that demonstrate the superiority of reproductive ultrasound over manual palpation and other manners of pregnancy diagnosis in cattle.
This week we have showcased some of the more common disorders seen in the bovine fetus.
A lot has changed since I wrote a blog post for EI Medical in 2011! I have a new last name, two little kids and I no longer use clippers when scanning calf lungs. I am still scanning calf lungs with my Ibex PRO/r and teaching veterinarians and veterinary students the technique. Out on farm and in research, we are now all using one scoring system developed by Dr. Terri Ollivett from University of Wisconsin.
Image #8, also scanned with an EVO and L7HD probe.What do you see?
Day 4 Image 8
Check back tomorrow morning for the last scan...answers right here tomorrow am!
Here's image #7, scanned with an EVO and L7HD probe. Male or female?
Day 4 Image 7
Check back later today for another scan...answers right here tomorrow am.
Here's image #6, scanned with an EVO and L7HD probe. Can you tell?
Day 3 Image 6
Check back tomorrow am for some more fun!
Have a look at this...#5, scanned with EVO and L7HD probe.
Day 3 Image 5
And #4 is...scanned with EVO and L7HD probe.
Day 2 Image 4
Here's #3—have a look! Scanned with EVO and L7HD probe.
Day 2 Image 3
Don't forget to check back later today for the next one and each day after for new scans. Answers to be revealed Friday afternoon, April 24th!
We will also be posting the images on Instagram @eimedical—follow us there.
Many equine practitioners who have not come from a sport horse background can be intimidated by the thought of imaging the superficial and deep digital flexor tendons and the suspensory ligament. Getting comfortable with ultrasounding these structures can help you to pay off your equipment faster and provide an important diagnostic option for your clients.
Tips for good, consistent results!
Use a transducer designed for tendon imaging. These probes are higher frequency (and therefore offer finer detail) than a linear rectal probe, for example. The footprint, or size of the imaging window of the transducer, is also smaller, so the structure takes up a larger portion of the monitor. In addition, a tendon probe is ergonomically designed to make tendon imaging easier. A standoff is useful when evaluating more superficial structures, but is not necessarily required for obtaining a good suspensory image.
Develop a consistent system. There are several “zone” systems out there; what is important is that you use the same method every time so that you know what your labeling means when archived images are recalled.
Always image distal limbs in two planes, and always image bilaterally. Because tendon areas, for example, will differ among animals of various sizes, the best way to judge pathology in one limb is to compare it with the contralateral one. Save images in longitudinal and cross sections, and label them accurately with zone, measurements, and date.