Reflections on Extension Arm Ultrasound

Having an ultrasound has benefited both of my practices! In the original of the two locations it has given us the opportunity to expand our diagnostic options in the small animal side and enhance our large animal pregnancy examination techniques. We use our unit on a wide array of issues from viewing the urogenital tract and diagnosing pregnancies in small animals, noting fetal counts in small ruminants, pregnancy diagnosis in horses and cows and looking at the internal structures of masses, abscesses and more. Having ultrasound capabilities gives us flexibility and credibility with our clients and patients. 


The primary benefit of the ReproArm is saving your shoulder (and some time). Using the ReproArm during my own pregnancy was a tremendous help in reducing the physical stress on my body and making my work much safer. In addition, the ReproArm seems easier on the animal and in the right facility, increases our speed. As for an initial learning curve, it has taken me a few hundred head to feel really comfortable that I am calling opens, open and not missing pregnancies. 


I feel as though heifers, especially first calf heifers, are less stressed with the ReproArm, but in reality, the ReproArm reduces the impact on my shoulder and elbow. I have not used the shorty, but I think it would be helpful in short "coupled" chutes with full sized cows where there is not a lot of space behind the cow. So far we have not had any trouble mounting the unit, but at times, when there is no palpation cage, I have to weedle the ReproArm in.


It took a few tries to master the set-up, but using the RAM Mount Kit to mount the unit on a chute is really durable and flexible. I no longer have to crane my neck, carry around a bulky unit or wield a cord attached to my body through a chute. 


Although simple, the whole set-up looks cool and complicated. I am not afraid to let my clients watch me set-up and walk them through what I am doing. It builds interest in what I am doing and encourages conversation! Most of the clients like the unit. They like the speed and ease and I still use my arm on cows that concern me. The imaging is interesting to them and when I can spot an abnormality, it really proves its value. On the whole, they appreciate the versatility! 


In regard to customer pricing, we do not charge more (right or wrong) on the cattle side. The reduction of strain on my body and increased speed makes it worth it for me and then clients cannot decide whether I use the RA or not. 


- Dr. Lauren Mack , The Animal Hospital; Plainville, Kansas