Last month I had the pleasure of teaching at the Colorado VMA’s small ruminant meeting, and it got me thinking about some of the common misconceptions and mistakes made when using ultrasound to diagnose pregnancy in sheep and goats. I thought I might take this opportunity to highlight my top five tips.
All ultrasounds have gain control. It’s often a knob, button, and/or a series of sliders on the console, and it’s one of the most used and adjusted scanning parameters... but do you know what it really does?
Most people think of gain as a brightness adjuster, and while it’s true that turning your gain up will brighten the image, it’s helpful to understand how it actually works. Gain is a uniform amplification of the ultrasonic signal that is returning to the transducer after it travels through the tissue. So rather than brightening the monitor, the image on the screen is whitened by a uniform margin, as though the returning signal is stronger than it is, to make it easier to see.
There are an overwhelming number of transducer (probe) options on the market these days, marketed for different species and applications. What do you need to consider when selecting one? Whether you are shopping for a new system or transducer, or simply deciding which of your current probes to use for a specific purpose, here are a few tips to keep in mind.
If you’re new to ultrasound, an image may look like nothing more than a swirling array of grey tones on the screen. Interpretation requires an understanding of anatomy and physiology, but also of how ultrasound technology functions.
Consider the sonar produced by a bat in flight. The bat emits high frequency sounds, which then bounce off of objects in its proximity and return to the bat. The animal uses the strength, direction, and timing of the returning sound to determine where those objects are and to avoid a collision.