Tools of the trade: SunTech Vet20 BP Monitor


blood pressure monitorby Dr Evan Kosack, Lennox Head Vet Clinic, NSW

This is a portable blood pressure monitor that can be run off mains power or batteries. It has an easy-to-read screen and is simple to use.

What’s good about it

The Vet 20 is a handy, well-designed, stable unit. The cuff can be fitted on the patient while it’s in a cage and then be left to settle down. Once the animal is calm, the extension tube is attached between the cuff and the machine. Multiple blood pressure checks can then be run without disturbing the animal. This is particularly useful with cats.

The cuff can be attached to the tail or a limb, though sometimes you have to experiment to see what the animal tolerates best. The manufacturer suggests that the cuff be attached at heart level. While a tail can be used if the animal is standing, a front limb usually works well if they are lying down. Settings allow for small animals up to 8kg, or larger dogs over 8kg, depending on the cuff size.

The digital display shows the diastolic, systolic and mean arterial pressure. It also allows an average to be derived from up to 50 stored measurements. It’s handy during surgery, dentistry and in intensive care. The cuff can be attached to different parts of the animal depending on which part you are working on.

What’s not so good

Occasionally, it can be difficult to discern which cuff is the best size to use and then deciding whether the results are artefacts or real. It just requires a bit of swapping around if you’re not quite certain. If the animal moves around too much, the results can be disturbed and you need to wait for the unit to run the algorithms again.

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