Primarily driven by a growing companion animal population, today's veterinary ultrasound capabilities have led to more accurate diagnoses, earlier disease detection, and a greater understanding of the health and well-being of animals. In fact, ultrasound has revolutionized veterinary medicine in the way health issues and surgical procedures are approached. Coupled with x-rays, ultrasound allows clinicians to detect issues that cannot be seen with a radiograph.
Considering new veterinary ultrasound equipment may seem daunting; however, ultrasound has recently become mainstream in the veterinary industry for a number of reasons. Most importantly, ultrasound offers a "real-time" look at internal organs and can detect a number of issues such as pregnancy, cardiac function, ingested foreign bodies, a tumor or mass including certain cancers, enlarged organs, and blood flow through arteries.
Ultrasound is a noninvasive procedure and can be performed without anesthetic. Ultrasound typically does not cause undue stress to pets; however, it allows clinicians to view internal organs with greater precision and assist with surgical procedures and biopsies. Other advantages include its availability and repeatability – many veterinarians perform ultrasounds daily.
Ease of Use
Although many newly licensed veterinarians have been trained and are ultrasound-ready coming out of veterinary college, seasoned veterinarians require some training before performing their first ultrasound exam. Be sure your applications training provides the following:
Know Your Expectations
Ultimately, veterinarians consider investing in ultrasound to improve the quality of care they offer, increase their efficiency, and increase profitability. As a significant investment, there are several questions veterinarians must ask themselves before investing in ultrasound equipment.
Do Your Research
Now that you know your expectations, start sifting through models and brands, keeping in mind your expectations. It is essential to know an ultrasound machine's capabilities, as well as future repair and other costs; however, it is just as critical to set a budget to allow a good ROI. This will make it easier for a distributor to find machines that fit within your budget ceiling.
Do the Math
Once you have an ultrasound system in mind, analyze the cost-profit to give you a bigger picture of how long it will be before making a profit on the machine. Keep in mind that a first-time purchase analysis is different from upgrading ultrasound equipment you already own.
To analyze an ultrasound machine, it is advised that you pull all the sick cases from a typical month and determine how many of those cases could have benefitted from ultrasound. Additionally, you may want to pull routine and sick ultrasound-guided cystocentesis to know how many you would have done. This analysis will give you an idea of frequency.
You can also poll clinics to see what they are charging for an ultrasound to help determine what you will charge. Multiplying these figures by the number of monthly cases will give you a rough estimate of how much you will make in a month. To take your analysis a step further, you will want to factor in the costs of image interpretation, monthly payment, and interest costs, ongoing repairs and support, staff costs, etc.