Looking to improve your confidence with ultrasound?
The problem vets face with ultrasound
Ultrasound is an essential diagnostic tool, and modern veterinarians are expected to be proficient with its use. Yet, there is often very little support for vets when learning this skill; a skill that, after all, is a post-graduate degree course in its own right (and that’s just for one species, on one part of the body!). Even for recent veterinary graduates, very few will have had more than a handful of sessions dedicated to hands-on scanning during their degree.
You may be lucky and find yourself in a practice where there are other experienced sonographers, eager to pass on their knowledge. Or you may be in an environment where colleagues are just too busy, or perhaps not confident enough, for you to be able to learn from them. You may even be the only person really interested in ultrasound in your practice!
If you are determined enough, you will commit to integrating ultrasound into your examinations at every opportunity, gaining valuable knowledge along the way. Teaching yourself is, undeniably, a very rewarding experience – but it can also be a very time-consuming and frustrating journey.
Accelerate your learning
Catherine is a qualified sonographer, with an MSc in Medical Ultrasound from Imperial College and full British Society of Echocardiography accreditation. She scans five days a week (a combination of both human and animal), but is not a veterinarian. As such, her priority is to teach you to get the most out of your ultrasound machine, whilst leaving the diagnosis down to you. This helps to keep your sessions focused on the task at hand – after all, you don’t need someone to teach you how new diagnostic information will change your patient’s management – this is already your area of expertise.
How much is your training?
Our ‘introduction to ultrasound’ course is priced at £399, excluding VAT and travel. ‘Introduction to echocardiography’ is priced at £499, excluding VAT and travel.
What courses do you offer?
Introduction to ultrasound:
This course is designed for those who are just getting started with ultrasound. It is designed to help you to get the most out of your machine, regardless of make or model, and includes:
- 2D image optimisation
- Advanced controls – beyond gain, depth and frequency
- Colour & Pulsed Wave Doppler
- Practical tips and tricks
If you do not yet have an ultrasound machine, or your current machine does not have Doppler capability but you would still like to learn about it for the future, don’t worry – Catherine will bring her own system with her on the day.
Introduction to small animal echocardiography:
Catherine’s specialist area of interest is echocardiography. Our introduction to echocardiography course takes approximately four hours, and covers:
- Obtaining the right parasternal long and short axis views
- Performing reproducible measurements in B-mode and M-mode
- Simple methods for grading mitral regurgitation in dogs
- Pulmonary hypertension, and estimating pulmonary pressures with Doppler
- Methods for assessing HCM in cats
- Methods for assessing DCM in dogs
- Obtaining the four chamber view
- LV volumes and ejection fraction
- Basic congenital screening – pulmonary and aortic stenosis
- Systolic and diastolic heart failure in cats and dogs
You will need to have at least two cooperative dogs available to scan on the day. Compliant cats are also welcome, but most felines are difficult teaching models!
Do I really need to know ultrasound physics?
All ultrasound textbooks begin with a chapter or three on ultrasound physics. There’s no escaping that understanding the science behind the technology will improve your imaging, but it’s also far more effective to learn this in context. Doppler physics is important, but only when you begin using Doppler. You can learn about the complimentary roles of Pulsed Wave and Continuous Wave in a textbook, but it only begins to take on meaning when you use it in practice.
You will find that the theory becomes a lot more intuitive (and interesting) when learnt in practice.
A decade of cooperation
Catherine has been working with veterinarians since 2010, sourcing new and used ultrasound machines and transducers. She is based in London, but teaches ultrasound to veterinarians worldwide. She attended this year’s Paris Vet Show, and will be at the New York Vet Show in November.