Veterinary ultrasound machines are almost always used to detect pregnancies in large animals, such as horses and cows. In fact, that is usually what most veterinarians use these machines for and many are not aware of the fact that an ultrasound machine can have many other uses. The following three uses for a veterinary ultrasound machine may prove useful to you in your veterinary practice, and you may want to try them out just for practice along the way.
Congenital defects in the hearts of animals are no less common than similar defects in humans. A veterinary ultrasound can give you very clear images of an animal's heart and its ability to beat with an expected rhythm and heart rate. It may even reveal abnormalities such as a massive heartworm infection, which presents as an enlarged heart with what looks like wiggly tentacles on the screen of your machine. Some of the problems uncovered by the ultrasound may be treatable, which is all the more reason to use your machine for this purpose.
Intestinal blockages can also be seen with a veterinary ultrasound. If someone's Great Dane swallows a rubber ball the size of your fist and it gets past the stomach but blocks the intestine, your machine can see that. At the very least, it can spot a large bulge in the dog's intestinal tract and/or the food bolus (wad of digested food) trapped behind the ball. About the only intestinal blockages that a veterinary ultrasound machine cannot see are those trapped in the bodies of very small pets, like hamsters, mice and parakeets.
Tumors have a life of their own, and that becomes very apparent when you view them with an ultrasound machine. Naturally, they appear as balls or masses of tissue that are out of place with an animal's anatomy, both on the ultrasound screen and through palpitation. On screen, the tumors will have blood vessels running to and through the tumors, which is how the tumors extract some of the nutrients that cause the cells to grow. By looking at the tumors this way, rather than with an x-ray, you can plan ahead for surgery too. You can be sure to cut around certain blood vessels in the area of the tumor or cut through other blood vessels and seal them off, all because you used your ultrasound machine to see the tumors and vessels first.