Portable ultrasound machines are being seen in more barns, tracks and equine competitions than ever before. Ultrasound equipment, including ultrasound patches, was used for the benefit of the equine athletes at the London 2012 Summer Games. Ultrasound waves helped the horses recover from the wear and tear of competition. Olympic veterinarians and trainers could quickly scan horses for injuries before and after competition.
Horse breeders have been familiar with seeing veterinarians check for pregnancies in their priceless broodmares for a few decades. With thousands of dollars resting on a confirmed pregnancy to a hard to book stallion, breeders need to know right away whether their mares are in-foal or need to be rebred. The cost of portable ultrasound scanners and software now costs less than a champion’s stud fee. SOme brands offer monthly financing.
Any stable with more than 20 competitive or breeding horses needs to have their own ultrasound equipment. Waiting around for the vet to arrive can be a costly error. The best portable ultrasound packages also include training sessions and free tutorials. Packages for stud farms may also include free extras such as arm-length surgical gloves, uterine probes and ultrasound gel.
Ultrasound equipment for diagnostic purposes is also the best preventative medicine horses can receive. This is especially true for horses competing in high-stress activities such as racing, jumping, eventing, cutting or reining. Since horses evolved as a prey species, they do their best to hide mild levels of pain so as not to attract the attention of predators. A quick, painless scan can help reassure trainers and owners that their equine athletes do not have hairline fractures, bone ships or other early signs of injury that could lead to a catastrophic breakdown.
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