Tools of the trade: Firefly DE550 Otoscope

by Dr Ian Hayes, Southern Tablelands Veterinary Hospital, Goulburn, NSW

The Firefly is a small digital otoscope that produces a high-quality image. It comes with a variety of fittings for use in different sized ears. I bought it at a conference in the USA and it’s much cheaper than other otoscopes on the market.

What’s good about it

The Firefly links via bluetooth to a computer screen in order to show its results. Some video otoscopes are extremely expensive set-ups with a lot of hardware and a dedicated viewing screen. This one is just a small handheld device that links wirelessly to your computer screen and produces a nice, clear image.

It’s a wonderful thing to use in the consultation room. You can show people dogs’ ear canals and point out things like a ruptured eardrum. It works exactly like a normal otoscope but you don’t look down the lens.

I’ve also used it to take pictures down dogs’ throats. We had a puppy in recently that had a quite severe defect in its soft palate. We were able to use the Firefly to take a photograph and show the owner this particular defect.

As it’s only about the size of a small torch, it can easily fit down animals’ throats without any issues. We also use it for taking pictures of corneal ulcers so we can monitor how they’ve improved over time.

All of the staff in my practice love the Firefly. It’s a great little gadget.

What’s not so good

It’s sometimes difficult getting the software connection set up and running. It can take a couple of goes to get it connected. Once it actually clicks in and connects, then it works extremely well.

Where did you get it

I purchased this at the Western Veterinary Conference in Las Vegas, but it’s available from Economedical.

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