What are the uses of the stethoscope in veterinary medicine?

A stethoscope is an acoustic gadget used in the medical field for auscultation or listening to the internal sounds inside someone’s body. It is mainly used for listening to heart rate or breathing sounds, but also for bowel sounds or puffs due to abnormal blood flows in arteries and veins. 

A stethoscope can be as useful for human patients as it can be for animals, and they are basically identical. However, a vet must keep in mind that auscultating a small hamster will not be the same than doing it for a dog, or even for a horse. This is why it is useful to acquire a veterinary stethoscope, because it has interchangeable chest pieces able to adapt to different patient sizes. 

This feature is usually found in electronic stethoscopes. The latest advances in medicine gave birth to a considerably improved version, containing features that allow users to record and share sounds. This wonderful feature allows the possibility to connect the devices to smartphones and tablets. This means the owners of the pets themselves can keep the evolution of the phonogram in their smartphones and look for a second opinion. This enhances the patient’s trust and loyalty towards the veterinarian. 

Moreover, it allows for a more accurate follow up since audios can be repeatedly listened. The recording of sounds can also be beneficial as a marketing tool to show the recordings to the clientes.

Additional features of electronic stethoscopes include:

  • Sound Amplification

Sounds can be increased 10 db. on the stethoscope amplified version. 

  • External Sound elimination

Critical for the best sound quality and eliminates background noise. 

  • Bluetooth

Besides from being more comfortable due to the absence of tubes, bluetooth improves signal quality.

  • Medical App

Some of the best electronic stethoscopes have apps, letting the user monitor the auscultation from a smartphone. 

Electronic stethoscopes are especially useful for hearing loss users, that can have additional features regarding sound, like the amplification and the possibility to connect the stethoscope with hearing aids.

A miracle for hearing impaired veterinarians

In some cases, veterinarians experiment hearing loss due to aging or other reasons. Take for example, the case of Dr. Kent in Saratoga California who claims to have lost hearing after spending thirty years with dogs barking and birds screaming. The doctor had to wear hearing aids and pull them out every time he had to use the stethoscope, which obviously affected the quality of his work. His solution: electronic stethoscopes for hearing loss. 

Luckily, some of the best brands offer special stethoscopes for hearing loss containing features that allow the users to amplify the sound 10 times the regular versions. Additionally, it allows users to apply heart and lung filters for a more accurate auscultation. 

A remarkable aspect is that hearing implants can be adapted according to the level of hearing loss and the patient needs. If the users have got presbycusis, they’ve got a type of hearing loss where they probably aren’t using any hearing aids. In this case the device will be adapted to this specific user. However, if the patients have got Conductive/Sensorineural Hearing loss or Sensorineural Hearing loss they are probably already using hearing aids, in which case  they will be provided with stethoscopes that adapt to them.