Vets & techs: Team up on ultrasound


Make more money, build your career and get props for being imaging wizard in your practice.

According to Anthony Pease, DVM, MS, DACVR, having veterinary technicians perform ultrasounds just plain makes sense on several levels.

Most states allow licensed veterinary technicians to perform them as part of performing a medical service as long as a veterinarian is present. So while the veterinary technician is taking images, the doctor can see other patients. This leads to (see where this is going?) increased revenue for the practice and potentially greater earnings for everyone involved.

Biggest hurdle

Ultrasound is a technical skill, says Dr. Pease. There are 12 organs in the abdomen, and they're always in the same spot. The hard part is recognizing normal vs. abnormal. If you can't recognize abnormalities, you'll never take a picture of them. While it can be difficult to find time to practice taking ultrasounds of normal animals, Dr. Pease says it's key for establishing a baseline reference for what's normal and what isn't. For example, if you know what a normal liver looks like and you come across a liver mass, you're going to stop and think, “That's the worst case of ‘whatever-it- is' I've ever seen!” and take a picture.

Not my job

The best part about performing ultrasound as a technician? You're never wrong. While you may be asked what something is on an ultrasound, you never have to make a diagnosis. “The liver looks strange” is as detailed as you need to get.

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