Eyes-on Experience: Importance of Ultrasonography Training (Case Discussion)
Purdue University, School of Veterinary Medicine, Department of Veterinary Clinical Sciences, West Lafayette, IN, USA
Veterinary ultrasonography has become an important part of the daily practice of veterinarians. It is useful to evaluate the internal architecture of organs and is frequently used after diagnostic radiography. This helps in evaluation of certain abnormal organs or to perform metastatic evaluation when a patient is diagnosed with a known cancer.
Performing veterinary ultrasound is a challenging task for most private practitioners. In the teaching institution, this is mainly performed by the board certified radiologists or the radiology residents under the supervision of the radiologists. There are a few veterinary technicians who were trained in teaching institutions and are now working as veterinary ultrasonographers. Currently there is no official program to train veterinary technicians to perform ultrasound.
Currently there is a lack of availability of trained veterinary ultrasonographers in many areas in the USA and Asia. Many private practitioners have to perform their own ultrasound examinations without any assistance. Some of the private practitioners have attended ultrasound workshops and some just learn from books and practice on privately own animals.
There are many good text books of veterinary ultrasound available in the market.1-3 Many ultrasound machine vendors organize training workshops for their buyers.4,5 These workshops are also open for general registration. Some universities conduct regular training on veterinary ultrasound.6,7 Information on ultrasound training in the United States can be obtained from Veterinary Ultrasound Society CE calendar.8
Most trainees are able to recognize normal organs and abnormalities in static images as shown in the textbooks or PowerPoint presentation during training. Many of the trainees have very good motor skills and are able to find the organs, even the small organs such as adrenal glands. However, some are not able to recognize the organs even when they appear on the ultrasound monitor. Some are not able to recognize the abnormalities of the organs. The reason this problem occurs is usually related to either:
1. Lack of understanding of the importance of eyes-on experience during the training thus only concentrating on the motor skills.
2. Lack of the opportunity to work with sonographers to be able to recognize the normal and abnormal structures.
This lecture will provide the opportunity for the participants to have eyes-on experiences: to be able to recognize the normal and abnormal organs seen in real-time ultrasound video clips. Discussion of how to formulate meaningful differential diagnosis will follow.
1. Nyland TG, Mattoon JS, eds. Small Animal Diagnostic Ultrasound. 2nd ed. Saunders. 2002.
2. Pennick D, d'Anjou M, eds. Atlas of Small Animal Ultrasonography. Blackwell Publishing. 2008.
3. Mannion P, ed. Diagnostic Ultrasound in Small Animal Practice. Blackwell Publishing. 2006.