Tools of the trade: Micromaxx ultrasound

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Sonosite ultrasoundby Dr Philip McConachy, Pound Road Veterinary Clinic, Hampton Park, Vic

We purchased this Sonosite ultrasound about six years ago. It was a big decision to spend a large amount of money on an ultrasound but there is no question that it has paid for itself. To be honest, I wonder how we managed without it.

What’s good about it?

We’ll occasionally use the Sonosite ultrasound to look at the heart but its main use is for abdomens. We use it to look for bladder stones, to check if a dog has pyometra, for pregnancy diagnosis, and searching for tumours and intestinal foreign bodies. Any time we suspect kidney problems, we’ll look to see if there’s any evidence of pyelonephritis or tumours. We use it frequently with older German shepherds as they are prone to splenic tumours. We also use it to see if there’s fluid in the abdomen and we can use it to guide biopsies.

The unit is quite compact—you just pick it up by the handle and open it like a laptop. It can be run off battery power so it’s very convenient to take into the consult room. While some vets rely solely on radiography, it is clear that you can see a lot more detail in the abdomen with an ultrasound.

I haven’t used many other ultrasound machines but other vets tend to speak highly of this model. The Sonosite brand seems to have an excellent reputation. It’s a fairly simple and very reliable machine.

What’s not so good?

The software is a bit clunky and it takes a little time to warm up when you first turn it on. While you can start using the ultrasound fairly quickly, it takes about four or five minutes before you can actually record anything.

The images are stored on a hard-drive in the machine itself. It would be great if the software could be integrated so the images were stored in the patient file.

Where did you get it?

BCF Ultrasound (www.bcfultrasound.com).

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