Frequently Asked Questions

Working Environment

Can I use my ultrasound in the rain?
Yes, but use some caution to protect the ultrasound.  All of the ReproScan ultrasound units are splashproof and will resist moisture but they are not waterproof.  Very few electronics are totally waterproof and all electronics can be damaged if moisture gets inside.  When ultrasounding in steady rainfall or wet snow, put the ultrasound unit in a backpack or hang it at the chute in a protective water resistant bag. 

Plastic bags will work but watch for overheating if you are in a wet and warm environment.  Check during the day to make sure your ultrasound protection is working and water is not accumulating near the unit.  When you are finished scanning for the day, always leave the ultrasound unit out to dry and do not leave it in the case.  This will result in internal corrosion.
How hot can it be and still use the ultrasound units safely?
The ReproScan ultrasound products all have a heat plate to help dissipate heat which is generated under normal operating conditions. Leave the heat plate exposed to the air on hot days.  Use while hanging up at the chute, on a waist strap, in a light backpack or other method that doesn’t trap the heat.

As mentioned in #1 above, use some protection during rainfall and wet snow. There have been a few incidences of ReproScan ultrasound units over heating. These incidences happened on very hot days when the ultrasound units were kept in protective cases for sanitary reasons.

Cleaning My Ultrasound FAQ

What is the best way to clean my ultrasound?
ReproScan units are splash proof and can be directly exposed to limited amounts of soap and water. One of the best ways to clean the ultrasound unit is with a soft cloth, warm water and mild detergent soap. Don’t immerse or spray the ultrasound unit with water. Use the warm soapy wet cloth to wipe down the unit. Always allow to dry 100% before putting into storage or using.
How do I get the manure to come off my sunshade?
There are a couple of little tricks we have learned throughout the years. Let the manure dry then scrape off. If you want to go one step further on your monitor sunshade, vehicle upholstery cleaner (the one with a scrub brush on top) works great. If you really want a deep clean, you can take the monitor and cables out of it and soak it in a 5 gallon bucket of vinegar water and a touch of dishsoap. A bit of elbow grease and you have a nice clean bag.
How do I shine up my ultrasound unit?
One great way to give your ultrasound some TLC is after you clean with a damp cloth is to use an Armor All wipe. We recommend the vehicle dashboard wipes. This help coat the body of the ultrasound and make it a bit easier to clean for a while.
How does the table of contents work?
Clicking on an item in the FAQ table of conents will take you to the related FAQ card

Power Sources

How do most people power their ultrasound units?
Most people use their ultrasound units under battery power. The batteries should last 6 hours or more depending on the model and the age of the battery. ReproScan and BoviScan batteries usually last more than 300 complete cycles or up to 3,000 partial cycles. If you are getting less than 6 hours of operating time on your ultrasound unit, call ReproScan and discuss updating your battery.
I forgot to charge my battery!
Not a problem, use can use your ReproScan or BoviScan unit while it is charging.  Similarly, if you have a very long day at the chute and need more than 6 hours of battery life, you can plug in your ultrasound while you are scanning.  You will see the battery indicator flashing as the battery charges.  There may be a small amount of interference on the screen depending on the power source.

The ReproArm

What diameter is the ReproArm?
The ReproArm is 3.5 cm (1.4 in.) in diameter. ReproScan chose this size to increase the surface area of the tip to help reduce the concern about rectal perforations and to make it easier to hold on to. Surface area of a sphere is 4πr² so the optimum radius of the ReproArm is quite important
What is the incidence of rectal perforations?
Although rare, rectal perforations can and do occur. There are thousands of ReproArms and other types of extension arm ultrasound units in the field and reports of rectal perforations are seldom discussed in veterinary literature. That said, everyone operating a ReproArm should be aware of the risk of rectal perforations, receive some training and have thorough understanding of the handling of the ReproArm.

Miscellaneous

Should I attend a training course?
The answer is YES. By attending a training course, you can strengthen and sharpen your fetal aging and sexing skills. Everyone that attends a training course is glad that they did. The reviews of the ReproScan training courses are very positive. Even people with ultrasound experience learn something new at the courses and they enjoy the interaction with people with similar interests. If you are unsure about attending, you can talk with a ReproScan representative and we are happy to help direct you to the best possible training courses for you.

Settings and Depth Control

I can’t reach the uterus when checking advanced pregnancies, what am I doing wrong?
Use the maximum depth setting when pregnancy testing advanced pregnancies in cattle. (22cm for XTC, BoviScan Curve; 20.8 cm for Flexx with convex rectal probe; 16cm for linear probe units).

If you are using the ReproArm and are having difficulties finding deep pregnancies, consider changing techniques. First, reach into the rectum with a sleeve and identify the cervix. Follow the uterus manually over the brim of the pelvis. Now remove your arm, dip the ReproArm in lubricant and re-trace the direction to the uterus with the ReproArm. With practice, it will be easier to find these deeper pregnancies and not need to put your arm in the cows.
How Do I Make My Image Brighter? 
This is a common problem with outdoor ultrasound examination of cattle, horses, small ruminants.  Let’s trouble shoot this problem.
 

A)      Is this a sunlight issue?  If so, consider the following options:

i)                    Turn up the brightness on the monitor.

ii)                   Turn up the backlight on the ReproScan 2.0 monitor.

iii)                 Change the angle of the monitor for a more direct view.  The Ram Mount kits helps with setting the angle of your monitor or Flexx unit. 

iv)                 Increase the shade around the monitor.  There are lots of things that can be tried.

B)      Is this a dry manure issue in a few of the animal?  If so, consider the following:

i)                    Manually remove some manure from the rectum and re-scan using lube.

ii)                   If using a ReproArm, carefully slide under the dry manure.

iii)                 If scanning by hand, increase the downward pressure on the probe face.

C)      Is this a contact issue while scanning sheep and goats?

i)                    Increase the amount of lube.

ii)                   Increase pressure against the skin of the small ruminant.
How Do I Adjust The Settings For Brightness Control?
The basic rule of veterinary ultrasound is that changing ultrasound settings to increase the brightness of the image will lower the resolution.  That is why human ultrasound examinations are done in a darkened room.  We don’t have that option so we must optimize the settings to get the best diagnostic image for the conditions that we are in.  Consider the following changes to increase brightness:

Gain     
-  Gain compensates for tissue absorption of the sound waves

-  Gain does not affect the energy that is sent to the animal (power)

-   Increase Gain to 110 to 120 (max for the ultrasound unit)


Near Gain – may need to reduce Near Gain as there is considerable reflection from near field

Far Gain – increase Far Gain (25 to 30) to compensate for tissue/manure absorption


Dynamic Range (Dynamic or DYN) – This setting changes the contrast of the image.  A higher Dynamic setting gives a lower contrast image with more shades of grey.  A lower Dynamic setting gives a higher contrast image with a less shades of grey (more extreme black and white).  An optimum level for Dynamic Range with ReproScan ultrasound units is 70 to 85.  A lower level will provide a brighter image which may be less diagnostic.  There is a user preference to the Dynamic setting as well. 


Compression Curve -      alters the display of the range of echo intensities by compressing them into fewer shades of gray.  Not all ultrasound units have this feature.  With ReproScan units, a lower Compression Curve setting gives a brighter image and a higher setting gives a darker but more diagnostic image.  The usual settings range on ReproScan XTC or a BoviScan is 4 to 7.


Image Processing (IP) – increases the amount of processes that the ultrasound unit does.  On most ReproScan units, the IP range is 0 to 3.  0 gives a much brighter but less diagnostic image.  IP 3 may be to dark for most scanning.
 

First steps in “brightening up an image”:

i)                    Increase gain

ii)                  Lower IP from 2 to 1 (or 3 to 2, etc.)

iii)                 Lower Compression Curve (if applicable) from 6 or 7 to 3 or 4. 
Will Changing the Depth of Focus Improve My Image Quality?
Yes, the ReproScan ultrasound units all have the ability to focus closer to the face of the probe or further from the probe.  While scanning, experiment with a low depth of focus such as 2 or 3 cm for scanning ovaries in cows or mares.  Try lowering the focus to 9 to 10 cm to improve imaged resolution in more advanced pregnancies.  You may wish to save these settings if these are examinations that you preform routinely.