Equine practitioners face a unique set of challenges in daily practice—rising expenses, space limitations in the practice vehicle, rugged conditions that test device reliability—and must look for unique solutions. Though ultrasound has always been a fantastic modality for getting diagnostic answers quickly, ultrasound machines have traditionally been expensive, fragile, and bulky. Recent technological advances are changing this and making ultrasound a crucial modality for equine assessment.
Butterfly Network is one company that is driving this shift, with the introduction of Ultrasound-on-Chip technology. Their second-generation device, Butterfly iQ+ Vet, uses a 2D array of 9,000 micro-machined sensors to generate and receive ultrasound waves. This allows a single probe to be used to scan the entire body, simply by selecting between presets which optimize the imaging settings for the different anatomic regions to be scanned. The device fits in a pocket, can be used without plugging into a wall outlet, and connects with compatible smartphones or tablets as the display screen and enables an intuitive, touch-based interface. An added benefit for equine practitioners is the durability of the iQ+ Vet. The probe is dust- and water-resistant*, tested to withstand 4-foot drops†, and sealed so it can be used with alcohol as an acoustic coupler and disinfected between horses.
There are opportunities across the equine care continuum to leverage ultrasound for diagnostic precision. To evaluate soft tissue structures and bony surfaces of the distal limbs, Butterfly devices are equipped with a Musculoskeletal Equine setting, designed to optimize the image of these structures while using an acoustic gel standoff pad. Biplane Imaging enables simultaneous views of the transverse and longitudinal images, and Needle Viz highlights needles in bright blue; Biplane makes diagnosis of soft tissue lesions easier, and both features provide added accuracy for any interventional procedure.
Scanning the abdomen of a horse with acute abdominal pain is rapidly becoming the standard of care. A fast localized abdominal scan of a horse (FLASH) can be quickly performed in the field or clinic with the iQ+ Vet, providing invaluable information to the practitioner when making decisions in these emergency cases. Evaluation of swellings, lumps, and bumps can be quickly and easily performed, enabling the veterinarian to assess the extent and contents of swellings and provide guidance for the most appropriate course of treatment.
Integrating Butterfly iQ+ Vet into veterinary practice provides equine practitioners with the ability to help improve the quality of practice and deliver better targeted treatment, as well as the ability, potentially, to provide quicker referrals in emergency cases. From a business standpoint, increased revenue and a positive return on investment are easier to achieve while using a diagnostic tool that costs several times less than larger, clinic-based portable units, yet produces images deemed by independent investigators in a side-by-side comparison to meet the requirements for accurate decision-making in the point-of-care ultrasound setting.
For trained veterinary professionals only.
*IP67 up to the line on the back of the probe