When pets become ill, many responsible and caring owners will ensure that they receive the same level of medical care they themselves would demand. Increasingly, this has meant the use of ultrasound technology to diagnose health problems. As more veterinary clinics and hospitals try to meet this demand for state-of-the-art diagnostics, training and certification programs have sprang up to ensure that veterinary staff is properly versed in the use of ultrasound technology.
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Ultrasound, also sometimes referred to as sonography, is a medical procedure that uses high-frequency sound waves to produce visual images of organs, tissue and blood flow in the body for diagnostic purposes. A machine transmits the sound waves to an area of the body. Data from recorded echoes are then used to create an image. Like other advanced diagnostic techniques used in general medicine, ultrasound eventually made it into the veterinary sphere. A veterinary ultrasound technician or specialist is someone specially trained to take ultrasound pictures of animals' internal organs.
Types of Training
While some ultrasound certification programs offer speciality tracks in veterinary ultrasound, some makers of ultrasound equipment used in veterinary care also offer training courses. For instance, Universal Seminars, a division of a company called Universal Ultrasound, offers 2-day, small animal ultrasound diagnostic workshops throughout the country. These courses are usually for medical support staff such as veterinary technicians and veterinary assistants. Other programs, like the one offered by the International Veterinary Ultrasound Society, are designed for practicing veterinarians.
Most short certification programs designed for veterinary support staff address the technical aspects of performing scans and reading ultrasound images. Typically, the programs for veterinarians tens to be much longer than those designed for support staff and address ultrasound technology not just from a technical aspect but also from the more interdisciplinary aspect of disease diagnostics.
When choosing a training program, it's important to ensure that courses meet the requirements for continuing education credits approval by the American Association of Veterinary State Boards (AAVSB). A search of the AAVSB's Registry of Approved Continuing Education database for ultrasound programs will yield a substantial list. Your local college may also have a program; however, the fact that an institution is accredited doesn't automatically mean that the program will be accredited, so it's important to ask.
The American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonography predicts that the employment of sonographers is expected to grow faster than most other occupations, making for a positive employment outlook. This will likely be the case for veterinary ultrasound as well, as people continue to spend increasing amounts of money to ensure pets' health and well-being.
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- American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonography: What Is Ultrasound (Sonography)?
- American Association of Veterinary State Boards: Registry of Approved Continuing Education
- Universal Ultrasound: ULearn Educational Seminars
- International Veterinary Ultrasound Society: Ultrasound Certificate Program