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Best Bet For A Vet: A Guide To The Best Stethoscopes For Veterinarians

Auscultation is one of the most important and fundamental skills for any clinical professional. Through years of training and experience, professionals hone their listening ability and build personal mental libraries of the sounds of the heart, lung, and other organs.

This is especially true for veterinarians for whom auscultation is especially crucial as their patients have no way of verbalizing their conditions and ailments.

It takes a lot of practice to gain proficiency and confidence in auscultation, and having the best tool for the job makes the process a lot easier. This is where a good stethoscope comes in. Practice makes perfect, and a good stethoscope makes perfection attainable.

We want to be part of your journey toward becoming the best veterinarian for your patients. We believe that we have the tools to help you do just that. That’s why we’ve prepared this guide to assist you in making your next stethoscope selection.

Veterinarian Stethoscopes: What Makes A Good Stethoscope?

Stethoscope’s Weight: Light & Easy To Carry

Depending on your personal preference, your stethoscope will spend a lot of time hanging from your neck or tucked away in your pocket. Either way, that’s added weight on your body that you’ll be carrying for most of the day. The ideal stethoscope should be light and easy to carry. It should be a comfortable weight so that it won’t strain your neck or cause your coat to droop to one side.

Headset Fit

Stethoscopes today have eartubes or binaurals designed to be at an optimal angle for fitting into the user’s ear canals. The eartips should fit snugly but comfortably in the ear to ensure that ambient noise doesn’t leak in while the stethoscope is in use.

Eartips come in different sizes and materials to accommodate different ears. Headset fit is crucial because it directly affects the stethoscope’s sound quality, as well as the user’s comfort.

Chestpiece or Head

Your choice of a stethoscope will be greatly influenced by your specialization or the animals you usually deal with. This directly affects the chestpiece you choose since it has to be the right size for your patients.

If you’re dealing with smaller animals, a smaller diaphragm would be necessary for proper and accurate auscultation. A good chestpiece should feel comfortable in the hand. It should be easy to operate no matter the patient involved.

Length Of Tubing & Versatility

Veterinarians have to deal with patients of different shapes and sizes. Tubing length is an important consideration especially when your patients are larger animals. Assessing and diagnosing large animals can be difficult without longer tubing. You might find yourself at unusual and unsustainable angles otherwise.

Longer tubing won’t be helpful if the tubing material isn’t of good quality. The tubing should be durable and resistant to noise. Noise can be caused by the tubing rubbing against other objects or even against the stethoscope’s second tube, so keep this in mind.

The tubing should be able to withstand constant use and cleaning as well. Some animals can be allergic to latex, so be careful that your tubing isn’t latex-based.

Sound Quality For Accurate Diagnosis

A quality stethoscope will make veterinary auscultation much easier. It can be difficult enough to distinguish and identify the different sounds coming from animals’ bodies. On top of that, veterinarians often work in noisy environments. Sometimes, there’s just no controlling animals or getting them to stay quiet.

Good sound quality becomesvery important in these cases.

A stethoscope with noise-reducing properties would be ideal for delivering clear and accurate sound to the ears in any situation. Good sound quality is also beneficial for those with hearing loss or hearing issues. A quality stethoscope delivers great sound consistently, in turn making your assessments more reliable and precise.

Comfort For Both Veterinarians & Patients

Comfort is important for all parties involved—for veterinarians as well as their patients. Stethoscopes today are designed to have non-chill rims around the diaphragm, increasing patient comfort. This is especially important for animals that are sensitive to temperature or have sensitive skin.

A comfortable stethoscope also has light, adjustable eartubes to ensure that the user gets the perfect fit. As mentioned earlier, eartips come in a variety of materials and sizes, so you’ll be able to find the pair that works best for your ear structure.

Value For Money

A stethoscope is an investment, and you want to make a well-informed, long-lasting investment with great returns. A good stethoscope should be made of durable, high-quality materials that can withstand all kinds of conditions. Stethoscopes for veterinarians should also be easy to clean and maintain, as they can be exposed to all kinds of fluids and elements.

To get the most bang for your buck, you should consider the manufacturer’s warranty and parts replacement policies. Make sure that the model you choose is still being manufactured. Otherwise, replacement parts might become a problem. You never know what could happen even during a routine check-up. Your stethoscope could get scratched, cracked, torn, or even broken, so it’s best to be prepared.

Is There Any Difference Between Veterinary and Human Stethoscopes?

No, there isn’t much of a difference between veterinary and human stethoscopes.

Any differences are negligible and will not significantly improve your auscultation skills or listening abilities. Stethoscopes manufactured and marketed as “veterinary stethoscopes” are almost identical to their “human” counterparts, and perform the same functions just as well.

In choosing a stethoscope, it’s much simpler to stick to our guidelines above. Those will be the important factors to consider, regardless of whether a stethoscope is “veterinary” or “human.” The most important difference to consider is the different types of patients you’ll be treating. That is a more constructive criterion than “veterinary” versus “human.”

Single-Sided Versus Double-Sided Heads: Which Is Better?

It’s a matter of personal preference, of course, but we have to make the case for single-sided heads when it comes to stethoscopes for veterinarians. It all boils down to the nature of their patients.

Animals can easily get nervous or excited around humans, especially when a person is unfamiliar. If an animal won’t calm down, it can be very difficult to perform proper auscultation. Your window of opportunity for listening to their bodies’ sounds can be very slim, especially if your environment is noisy.

With this in mind, single-sided heads are convenient because you don’t have to flip the chestpiece over to listen for different frequencies. You can keep moving the stethoscope along the patient’s body and simply adjust the diaphragm pressure with a finger. It’s a breeze to operate and it’s very easy to learn the technique for proper use. Your auscultation will be smooth and uninterrupted.

Single-Sided Versus Double-Sided Heads: Which Is Better?

We have a variety of stethoscopes that can suit different users’ needs. The Ultrascope design philosophy is consistent and clear across all models, so they might be hard to tell apart at first glance. Here’s a handy guide to the range of stethoscopes we offer.

Ultrascope Single Stethoscope

The Single Stethoscope is Ultrascope’s flagship model. It is a pressure-sensitive acoustic stethoscope with a single-sided chestpiece. It has an adjustable or tunable diaphragm that allows the user to hone in on different frequencies with just a press of a finger. We’ll explain this process in more detail later.

This stethoscope is great for veterinary professionals who often deal with cardiovascular conditions, as this stethoscope will allow you to easily adjust the diaphragm to listen for lung, heart, and bowel sounds.

This stethoscope can be used on both animal and human patients.

Ultrascope Duo Stethoscope

At first glance, the Ultrascope Duo Stethoscope might look just like the Single Stethoscope. However, it has an additional feature that the Single Stethoscope doesn’t have: the ability to swap between different stethoscope heads.

Since the Duo Stethoscope can be equipped with different heads, you can choose to have an Adult head for animals of average to large size, and a Pediatric head for smaller animals. Similar to the Single Stethoscope, these heads have pressure-sensitive, adjustable diaphragms that allow for quick and easy transitioning between different frequencies.

This is a great option for veterinary professionals who deal with patients of different shapes and sizes.

Switching between stethoscope heads is simple. There are head connectors that you just have to unscrew by hand, and you can then screw in the head of your choice. It’s a simple process and one that’s especially convenient when you have to assess differently-sized patients in succession.

Ultrascope Extended Stethoscope

The Ultrascope Extended Stethoscope differs from the previous models in one key aspect: the option of extending the tubing on the stethoscope.

The average stethoscope has a length of about 30 inches. With the Ultrascope Extended Stethoscope, you have a tubing extension that increases the stethoscope’s total length to 51 inches. That’s almost double the average length, giving you a lot more room to work with. The tubing extension is optional to use, so you can easily switch between the standard and extended length as called for by the situation or patient.

With this extra tubing length, you can reach all areas of large animals without having to crawl under them or contorting your body at strange angles. The extra length also comes in handy when you’d like to put some distance between yourself and a particularly aggressive or agitated patient. You can even use this stethoscope in extreme cold. Through a gloved hand, you can listen to this stethoscope in sub-zero temperatures.

This stethoscope can be used on human patients as well, and works especially well for larger or obese patients.

How Does A Single-Sided Stethoscope Work?

As with any stethoscope, make sure that the eartubes or binaurals are pointing toward your nose. The eartips should fit snugly yet comfortably into your ear canal.

While holding the head of the stethoscope between your thumb and middle finger, apply pressure using your index finger. If you are unfamiliar with single-sided stethoscopes, remember to use light pressure at the beginning. If you press down too hard, you will end up blocking sound instead of adjusting for higher frequencies.

The amount of pressure to be applied depends on what sounds you’re looking to hear from your patient. For heart sounds, apply very light pressure at first. It won’t take much pressure to hear those lower frequencies. If you’re looking for lung sounds, you will need to apply firmer pressure. The more pressure you apply, the higher the frequencies the chestpiece will pick up. For blood pressure readings, apply only a moderate amount of pressure.

Ultrascope stethoscopes have acrylic heads that are, by themselves, already excellent at reducing noise. However, if your environment is really loud, you can place your hand over the head of your stethoscope to block out even more noise.

To do this, place your palm over the chestpiece and press down. If ambient noise is still filtering through, you might need to apply more pressure. Again, be mindful of not applying too much pressure as you can end up blocking all sounds completely instead.

Which Stethoscope Is Right For Your Specialization?

There are many veterinary fields and sub-specializations, and each one comes with its own peculiarities and needs. The biggest influence on your choice of stethoscope will most likely be the size of your patients. There are, however, other factors also worth considering. Let’s look at some veterinary fields and the stethoscopes suitable for the practitioners in each field.

Veterinary Students

There’s a lot on every veterinary student’s plate. That’s why we think your time is better spent catching up on studies or sleep instead of scouring the web for stethoscope reviews. We want to help you save time and money, and we sincerely believe that our products can do that.

Best Choice For Students: Affordable, Robus & Durable

For veterinary students, we suggest the Ultrascope Single Stethoscope.

It’s the most affordable stethoscope in the Ultrascope range. However, that doesn’t mean that its performance lags behind the other models in any way. The road to getting that DVM is hard enough without tuition fees, student loans, and other expenses to worry about. You can have some peace of mind with a robust, reliable, and durable stethoscope to last you throughout veterinary school.

Don’t Compromise On Quality

It might be tempting to opt for a more affordable stethoscope, but rest assured that an Ultrascope is worth every penny. You’ll own a quality product and you’ll be covered by our very comprehensive warranty. Going through multiple inexpensive stethoscopes can really add up.

With a trusted stethoscope like the Ultrascope Single Stethoscope, you’ll only have to make one purchase and you’re set for years to come.

The Ultrascope Single Stethoscope comes in a wide variety of designs. There are various animals to choose from if you have a favorite or if you’re excited about representing your future field.

Avian Practice

Avian veterinarians are practitioners specializing in the care of birds. Avian veterinary practice has a few offshoots. There is companion bird practice, which involves popular birds and pets like parrots and songbirds.

Poultry production practice, on the other hand, focuses on domesticated birds like turkeys and chickens. Avian wildlife practice deals with birds of prey and native species of birds, such as those found in nature reserves or zoos.

Best Choice For Avian Vets

Avian veterinarians are small animal practitioners, so a smaller stethoscope head is very important. Our stethoscope heads come in two sizes: Adult and Pediatric. The Pediatric stethoscope head is designed for use on infants, neonates, and small animals.

Using the appropriately-sized stethoscope head is crucial for accurate detection of sounds. If the chestpiece covers too large an area, it can be very difficult to distinguish among the different sounds picked up.

The Pediatric head is available on two of our models: the Ultrascope Single Stethoscope and the Ultrascope Duo Stethoscope.

If you treat birds exclusively, the Single Stethoscope with a Pediatric head will suit your needs. If you deal with other patients larger than birds, the Duo Stethoscope is a versatile tool that you should consider.

You can get an Adult head and a Pediatric head with your Duo Stethoscope. You could, of course, also get two Pediatric heads so you can switch between chestpiece designs.

The Single Stethoscope comes in flamingo, hummingbird, and cartoon owl designs, so you can show off your love for birds through your stethoscope too.

Poultry Practice

Poultry veterinarians are practitioners specializing in the care of chickens, turkeys, and ducks. Poultry veterinary practice can be species-focused or production method-focused.

Species-focused poultry veterinarians concentrate on particular animals, such as ducks, exclusively. Production method-focused poultry veterinarians, on the other hand, deal with either the eggs or the meat of different poultry species.

Poultry veterinarians work in various environments and are often involved in non-clinical settings, such as poultry production and animal husbandry. Poultry veterinarians are often consulted by farmers and ranchers, as they can give guidelines on flock health and management. Their insight is relied on even for business matters, since poultry veterinarians understand how to increase egg production and fowl growth, and prevent the transmission of diseases.

Best Choice For Poultry Vets

Since domestic fowl are small animals, a small stethoscope chestpiece is essential for proper diagnosis and assessment.

We recommend the Ultrascope Single Stethoscope and Ultrascope Duo Stethoscope for poultry veterinarians, as these can come with our Pediatric stethoscope heads.

The Single Stethoscope is a true workhorse that can suit all kinds of patients and situations. You can bring it anywhere and assess as many chickens and turkeys in a row as needed.

If your practice isn’t exclusive to poultry, you can consider the Duo Stethoscope as your do-it-all tool for various patients. You can also get two Pediatric heads with your Duo Stethoscope, since it never hurts to have a spare ready.

Equine Practice

Equine veterinarians are practitioners specializing in the care and health management of horses. They work with all kinds of horses, from small ponies to large farm horses to competition horses. Equine veterinarians typically work in many environments.

More often than not, they will travel to farms and stables to treat their patients, instead of patients being brought to them. Surgeries are sometimes even performed out in the field. There is a lot of travel in the life of an equine veterinarian.

In addition to their regular work hours, they are often on call in case of emergency situations, such as births. They also have to work outdoors in different temperatures and climates.

Best Choice For Equine Veterinarians

Equine veterinarians are large animal practitioners. Our Adult stethoscope head will work perfectly on larger patients and is our default head size.

For equine veterinarians, we recommend the Ultrascope Single Stethoscope or the Ultrascope Extended Stethoscope.

The Extended Stethoscope is ideal for equine veterinarians given their workplaces and their patients. Since they often work outdoors in stables or fields, the extra tubing length can really come in handy when there isn’t much room to maneuver without getting dirty.

Horses are large animals, and there are always additional precautions to take when dealing with larger animals. The extra tubing length will allow you to examine your patient while maintaining a safe distance if necessary.

If you don’t need the extra tubing length, the Single Stethoscope will be a good companion for you. You can also get it as an additional, backup stethoscope to keep in the car in case anything happens to your primary stethoscope.

The Single Stethoscope comes in different designs that you might enjoy as an equine veterinarian. There are galloping horse, horse promenade, and cartoon horse designs. There’s also a horse, cat, and dog design if you want more animals on your stethoscope head, there’s even unicorn and unicorn head designs available as well.

Large Animal Or Livestock Practice

Large animal veterinarians are practitioners specializing in the care of livestock animals. Their patients include cattle, sheep, pigs, goats, and horses. Some livestock veterinarians choose to focus exclusively on certain animals, which is why we have specialists like equine veterinarians and beef cattle veterinarians.

Large animal veterinarians lead a similar life to the equine veterinarians mentioned above. They often travel a lot, making house calls to their patients on farms and ranches. They are also perpetually on call, as emergencies requiring immediate attention can happen at any time. Livestock veterinarians also face the additional challenge of having to restrain animals of significant size and weight.

Best Stethoscope For Veterinarians Who Specialize In Large Animals Or Livestock

Livestock veterinarians sometimes have their vehicles customized to accommodate their medical equipment. It’s a practical solution for practitioners who spend much of their time on the road. Professionals who invest this much in their equipment deserve to have stethoscopes that match their level of dedication.

For livestock veterinarians, we recommend our stethoscopes with an Adult head, particularly the Ultrascope Single Stethoscope or Ultrascope Extended Stethoscope.

The Ultrascope Extended Stethoscope is the ideal stethoscope for large animal veterinarians. The tubing extension goes a long way in allowing you to maneuver around large animals with greater ease. You won’t have to crawl under your patients, which is a welcome relief considering you’re often outdoors and not on a clinic floor.

You’ll be able to reach all around your patients’ bodies without putting yourself in awkward positions and angles. You wouldn’t want to be too close to a large animal that’s skittish or aggressive, and the extra tubing allows you to give your patients more space. The Extended Stethoscope brings improvements in cleanliness, safety, and overall examination experience for large animal veterinarians.

The Ultrascope Single Stethoscope is a good alternative if you won’t need the extra length for your patients.

You can also consider keeping one in your vehicle in case you forget your primary or Extended Stethoscope at home. The Single Stethoscope comes in pig, cow, and various horse designs if you want to show off your beloved patients on your stethoscope.

Small Animal Or Companion Animal Practice

Small animal veterinarians are practitioners specializing in the care of dogs, cats, hamsters, birds, rabbits, and reptiles or exotic companion animals kept as pets. They can work in a variety of environments but often have their own clinics set up. Patients are often brought to companion animal veterinarians, unlike large animal veterinarians who have to travel to visit their patients.

Best Stethoscope For Small Animals

Since companion animal veterinarians deal with small patients, a stethoscope with a Pediatric head is essential for proper and accurate auscultation.

We recommend the Ultrascope Single Stethoscope or Ultrascope Duo Stethoscope for small animal practitioners.

The Single Stethoscope with a Pediatric head is a reliable and durable model that can be used for assessing a wide variety of animals. Ultrascope stethoscopes can pick up sounds through fur and various materials, so you’ll be ready for any small animal brought your way.

The Ultrascope Duo Stethoscope is our recommendation if you have to treat larger patients once in a while.

The Duo Stethoscope can accommodate both the Pediatric and Adult heads, so you can switch to the Adult head when the need arises. You can also get two Pediatric heads with your Duo Stethoscope and have different designs on your chestpieces.

The Single Stethoscope comes in designs including black or white paws, cats, dogs, cats and dogs together, tabby cat eyes, and even cartoon frogs. The Duo Stethoscope has cat and dog, black or white paws, and dog chestpieces as well. You might like these options if you’re especially fond of your companion animal patients.

Aquatic Or Marine Practice

Marine practice is a relatively new sub-specialization in the veterinary field. Marine veterinarians are practitioners specializing in the care of marine animals. They deal with all sorts of aquatic species, including fish, dolphins, whales, sea turtles, sea lions, octopuses, jellyfish, and marine animals.

Aquatic veterinarians can have very different work environments. Some work in zoos, aquariums, or marine parks. Other marine veterinarians work in museums, and some are even sent to work on ships out in the ocean. Private practice is not as common for marine veterinarians due to the nature and natural habitat of their patients. The water is a peculiar challenge for those in aquatic practice. Some aquatic veterinarians even obtain diving certifications so they can really get up close with their patients.

Best Stethoscope For Marine Veterinarians

For marine veterinarians, we recommend the Ultrascope Duo Stethoscope or the Ultrascope Extended Stethoscope.

If you work at a zoo or marine park, perhaps, you will have to treat animals of all different sizes. This calls for a versatile stethoscope like the Duo Stethoscope. You can use the Pediatric head for smaller aquatic creatures, and the Adult head for larger animals like dolphins and sea lions.

If you’re out at sea, the temperatures can drop and the water can become quite cold quickly. The Ultrascope Extended Stethoscope was built to withstand use even in sub-zero temperatures, making this the ideal stethoscope for marine practice. The tubing extension is also be very useful for assessing large sea creatures in the water.

The Duo Stethoscope and Extended Stethoscope both come in sea turtle, beach, and goldfish designs.

If you don’t need the extra features of the Duo Stethoscope or Extended Stethoscope, the Single Stethoscope is always a sound choice and comes in sailboat, orca whale, and dolphin designs.

You can show off your love for the ocean and its creatures on your stethoscope’s chestpiece.

Mixed Practice

Mixed practice veterinarians specialize in the care of small and large animals alike. The combination of animals treated varies from practitioner to practitioner and can be influenced by location as well. Mixed practice tends to thrive in rural areas, especially in isolated ones. Some mixed practice veterinarians see patients ranging from livestock to household pets.

Mixed practice veterinarians will inevitably work in all kinds of locations, with large animals requiring travel to farms or ranches for treatment. Many mixed practitioners will have customized vehicles for treating a variety of patients. Their hours have to be flexible as urgent cases and emergencies can occur anytime.

Best Stethoscope For Mixed Practice

For mixed practice veterinarians, we recommend the Ultrascope Duo Stethoscope and Ultrascope Extended Stethoscope.

The Duo Stethoscope is the adaptable, all-around tool that you need to match the demands of your practice. Having an Adult head and a Pediatric head compatible with one stethoscope gives you unmatched convenience. You’ll be ready no matter what patient comes your way.

The Extended Stethoscope is another versatile option for mixed practice.

If your smaller patients aren’t small enough to require a Pediatric head, the Extended Stethoscope is the choice for you. The optional tubing extension makes this stethoscope ideal for animals of all shapes and sizes. If you’re called out to a farm to diagnose a large animal, simply attach the tubing extension and you’ll have 51 inches to work with. If a small animal is brought to your clinic, you can remove the extension and not have so much tubing in the way.

What Are The Benefits Of Ultrascope Stethoscopes?

Proven Performance And Quality: The Best Stethoscopes For Veterinarians

Ultrascope stethoscopes are made using premium, top-quality materials. They’re designed to give you the best comfort and performance possible. Most notably, all Ultrascope stethoscopes come with acrylic heads made of crack-resistant modern plastic. Why is acrylic so important? An acrylic head will absorb less ambient noise than one made of metal or steel.

Reducing ambient noise is critical for veterinarians as they often work in loud environments and have noisy patients. It can be a challenge to get animals to stay quiet, especially if you’re in a clinic with multiple animals gathered in one place. There’s only so much that you and the pet owners or animal caretakers can do. That’s why it’s important to have a tool that can assist you in this regard. The less ambient noise that filters through your stethoscope, the more clear and accurate the auscultation.

Apart from using an acrylic head, Ultrascope stethoscopes also filter out noise through their head, tubing, and eartube assembly. Each head is manufactured in the United States and individually designed and hand-painted.

Trusted Brand For Over 3 Decades

Ultrascope was founded in 1987. For over three decades, we have been manufacturing quality stethoscopes that deliver consistent performance, reliability, and durability. We are known for our custom-designed stethoscopes that allow users to show off their personalities. Our stethoscopes are also great for easing patient anxiety, especially among younger patients. We have established a loyal user base through the quality of our products and the dependability of our service.

Lifetime Warranty

All Ultrascope stethoscopes come with a lifetime warranty. We want to make your purchase count and really give you a long-lasting tool for your veterinary journey. We will replace your tubing and binaurals, diaphragm and retaining ring, eartips, and nametag, all for free.

If your tubing or binaurals need replacing, we will send you a new set as one piece. If you have an issue with your retaining ring or diaphragm, we will send the part that you need. If the diaphragm has become worn from use, all you have to do is request a new one. If the retaining ring is loose and won’t stay in place, we will send you a replacement.

We also have two types of eartips—Screw-on or Push-on—that we can send depending on your preference.We will, of course, also replace or repair stethoscopes that have manufacturing or material defects.

Customization Options

Users really enjoy the customization aspect of Ultrascope stethoscopes. We have over 80 different stethoscope head designs available, and some designs are even available in a variety of colors. That’s already hundreds of heads to choose from, and we haven’t even gotten to the other parts yet.

Our tubing comes in 14 different colors. We also have an option for personalized engraving on the crown of your stethoscope head. You can have your name, monogram, or an insignia engraved. Your stethoscope can be as flamboyant or as subtle as you want. The options are endless, and we think you’ll enjoy exploring them.

Ultrascope Stethoscopes:
An Obvious Choice

A stethoscope is a vital component of any veterinarian’s toolkit. Veterinary professionals face a ton of challenges every day; we want to make sure that an underperforming, unreliable stethoscope is never an issue.

We hope you enjoyed our list of the best stethoscopes for veterinarians, and we hope that you’re well on your way to finding the right tool for the job!