Essential Veterinary Imaging Equipment for the Mobile Practitioner

Imaging platforms such as radiography and ultrasonography are frequently needed to accurately diagnose your patients’ health conditions.

Veterinary mobile imaging equipment is especially valuable to equine practitioners, practices that are experiencing higher demand for remote services, or practices whose limited clinic space can benefit from compact easy-to-transport equipment.

Investing in Veterinary Imaging Equipment for Your Practice

veterinary imaging equipment

While providing exceptional patient care is always a veterinarian’s top priority, any business must stay competitive and profitable.

Having access to the newest technology in veterinary imaging equipment is an important investment in your practice’s growth and ability to deliver the following:

  • A confident prognosis for your patients — Improved diagnostics lead to a confident prognosis for your patients. Veterinary imaging equipment, such as portable veterinary X-ray machines and portable ultrasound machines, provide fast, accurate, and non-invasive diagnoses, so you can promptly devise a treatment plan for your patient’s overall prognosis.
  • Your ability to provide specialty care — When you have the necessary veterinary imaging equipment, you reduce the need to refer your patients to specialty providers, which allows you to stay involved with your cases, as well as retain revenue in your practice.
  • Improved client satisfaction — According to the Human Animal Bond Research Institute (HABRI), the majority of pet owners consider their pet family and want the best possible care for their precious family members. They appreciate that you have state-of-the-art technology that allows diagnosis and treatment without delay and the ability to explain your findings in detail with quality imaging. Clients who have a good experience and feel their pet is receiving advanced care are more likely to be loyal to your practice and refer others to you.
  • Attracting top talent — Attracting new veterinarians can be difficult in the current market. Having the latest technology in veterinary imaging is a plus in attracting talented veterinarians seeking career growth opportunities.

Portable Veterinary Equipment Options

This article will focus on portable digital radiography (x-ray) and portable ultrasound machines. These are durable systems made to sustain the rigors of a mobile environment with advanced technology that provides high levels of performance.

Portable Veterinary X-ray Machines

veterinary imaging equipment

Generally speaking, a digital x-ray is primarily used to diagnose structural abnormalities such as bone malformations or fractures, as well as to detect the presence of tumors in air-filled cavities such as the lungs and some abnormalities in other organs.

Beyond the obvious benefit of being able to avoid patient transport if, for example, a pet is too ill to travel safely or a trailer ride could exacerbate a horse’s fractured limb, portable digital x-ray provides:

  • Speed — Characteristic of digital x-ray in general, portable imaging units have fast processing speeds, eliminating long wait times. In addition, digital imaging technology eliminates excessive X-ray retakes, and the results are evaluated in real-time, allowing for an immediate diagnosis critical in emergency situations.
  • Safety — Radiation exposure is a significant concern for patients and personnel but used appropriately, portable veterinary X-ray machines are extremely safe. Together with digital technology’s general need for fewer retakes, most systems adhere to the ALARA (as low as reasonably achievable) principle of attaining high-quality imaging with the lowest dose of radiation possible.
  • Image quality — This is, of course, the most important factor. Portable veterinary X-ray units are equipped with advanced technology that provides high-quality images, with many systems offering software that allows image enhancement at the workstation.
  • User friendly — Portable veterinary X-ray machines are straightforward and convenient to operate. You can select the desired view from customized settings, capture an image in seconds, and save the files to the cloud or another picture archiving and communication system. Many systems provide additional software features, such as the display of measurements on the image and calculating hoof angles for equine patients.

The cost of portable veterinary X-ray systems typically ranges from $25,000- $50,000, depending upon the system itself, its digital detectors, software customization, and accessories such as a portable x-ray generator.

Specific portable x-ray systems may be designed for a companion animal or equine practices.  A recertified machine that meets the additional needs of your practice is also something to consider.

Portable Veterinary Ultrasound Machines

Ultrasound is increasingly used in a variety of applications and is invaluable where the presence of fluids may limit the effectiveness of digital x-ray.  Detection of abnormalities in tissue and organs such as the abdomen, pancreas, and bladder are primary functions of ultrasound, which also provides real-time movement important in cardiac care and in reproduction.

Ultrasound applications are constantly expanding. With these technological innovations, portable veterinary ultrasound machines are providing high-quality imaging that is revolutionizing animal health care.

Similar to portable veterinary X-ray machines, mobile ultrasound units preempt the need to transport animals and offer:

  • Versatility — Portable ultrasound machines can be used in the veterinary clinic or in the field, so ultrasound equipment is adaptable and cost-effective.
  • Broad patient profile — New technology allows portable ultrasound machines to provide greater penetration so that all animals can be scanned accurately, allowing your practice to offer your clientele services across species and breeds.
  • Comfort — Portable ultrasound machines allow you to examine patients in their comfort zone, removing the stress from office visits. Most animals don’t require sedation for the procedure, saving owner expense and worry.

Today’s portable ultrasound machines produce outstanding imaging quality for numerous diagnostic applications including abdominal examinations, echocardiography, and equine and bovine rectal exams.

The average price range for a portable ultrasound machine is $15,000 to $60,000, depending on the unit’s functionality and features. As different applications require different probes, you will have to determine which probes you will be using most frequently. Probe costs vary depending on their individual capabilities.

Choosing the Right Probes for Your Ultrasound Machines

Choosing the most useful ultrasound probe (or probes) for your practice can be confusing.

The image quality depends on the probe’s frequency—a higher frequency produces a higher quality image, but penetration is relatively shallow, while a lower frequency produces a lower quality image, but the beam penetration is deeper. While older probes could operate only at a single, fixed frequency, modern portable ultrasound probes are able to scan at multiple frequencies.

There are a number of classifications of probes, from micro-convex with a high-frequency range and small point of contact to trans rectal probes used primarily for reproductive evaluation in large animals.

If you are purchasing a portable ultrasound machine for the first time or expanding exams to other ultrasound applications, a Universal Imaging product specialist will be happy to advise you.

Protecting Your Portable Veterinary Imaging Equipment

Because any imaging equipment can be a significant financial investment for your practice, steps should be taken to protect this investment, including:

  • Purchasing a warranty — Ask your equipment provider if they offer a warranty to keep your equipment safe and operational. Ensure you know how long the warranty lasts and what is covered.
  • Practicing routine maintenance — Follow the manufacturer’s recommendations about servicing your veterinary imaging equipment to prevent expensive repairs.
  • Training your team — Train your veterinary team on proper use, handling, and maintaining your imaging equipment to ensure a long life of top performance.

Speak with a Product Specialist

Veterinary mobile imaging equipment is a valuable asset to any veterinary practice. Contact Us and speak with a product specialist at Universal Imaging, Inc. for your mobile imaging equipment needs.

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