BCF vet Kimberley Palgrave goes through 8 simple techniques to make scanning a dog's abdomen easier and more effective.
1. Shut the blinds and turn off the lights - makes it easier for you to see the image on the ultrasound machine and creates a calmer environment, encouraging the patient to be more relaxed and still.
2. Add a vet bed to allow the dog to be comfortable.
3. Lie the dog in right lateral, left lateral or dorsal recumbency (depending on region being scanned and personal preference/experience).
4. Allow the person restraining the patient to be comfortable – provide a chair for them to sit down if possible/appropriate.
5. Restrain the patient by holding the front legs with one hand, with your arm resting over their neck, and hold the back legs in your other hand, pulling them caudally to allow adequate access to the caudal abdomen. If the patient is large or particularly nervous/fractious, using an additional assistant to restrain the animal may be helpful (one person restraining the front end and another restraining the back).
6. Make yourself comfortable by sitting down to scan (where possible/appropriate) – this will allow you to focus on scanning and decrease the strain on your neck/back/wrist.
7. Ensure the ultrasound machine is easy to see and that the controls are within easy reach - this will make it easier for you to adjust settings such as patient details, pre-set/exam type, Frequency, Depth, Gain, Time Gain Compensation and Focus.
8. Hold the probe with your thumb or index finger on the marker – this will allow you to manipulate the probe more effectively as the orientation of this marker on the probe corresponds to a marker on the screen (usually a dot, arrow or initials of the machine manufacturer at the top of the ultrasound image).
So now you, your patient and the person holding the animal will all be much more comfortable and ready to scan.