Studying to become a veterinarian and studying in medical school (for humans) are very different in many respects. However, one thing they most definitely have in common is the use of the legendary stethoscope. Although veterinary stethoscopes and ‘human’ stethoscopes do not have any real difference – since their structure and use are identical – you can still try to choose the best option from human stethoscopes for veterinarians’ needs. How exactly is this achieved? Continue reading and learn all about the factors you, as a veterinarian, should take into consideration whilst looking for the best veterinary stethoscope.
The Best Veterinary Stethoscopes | Stethoscope Reviews
Stethoscopes For Veterinary School | Prerequisites
There are a few factors to definitely take into consideration when you’re looking for the best stethoscope to use while you’re in vet school. At the top of our list is the weight of the stethoscope. Taking into consideration the long hours and intense coursework of vet school, having a lightweight stethoscope is probably your best bet. You wouldn’t want to be halfway done with your day and encountering severe neck pain, would you? Of course, there is always the option of a stethoscope hip clip, but why would you spend extra money on something you don’t necessarily need?
Most animals detest coming to the vet, usually meaning they are scared, which results in erratic behavior and unforeseen situations. To counter this issue, you will need your stethoscope to work reliably and efficiently. There is often a window of a few seconds in which veterinarians can easily check their patients before they make sudden movements or simply just decide they do not want to be there anymore. Imagine a particularly jumpy patient finally settling down for a few seconds, and your stethoscope gives up on you…That is definitely a situation you will want to avoid.
An issue that can be seen with both human doctors and veterinarians is that of the ear tips. If not chosen properly, a stethoscope’s earpieces can cause a lot of discomfort and pain for the user. Many brands have created great solutions to this problem with their custom-fit and newly invented ear tip technology. For example, Littmann Stethoscopes have their classic ‘snap-tight, soft-sealing ear tips which conform to individuals’ ear shape, providing the maximum comfort levels for all medical professionals sacrificing their days and nights for the ill. If you are opting for a different brand of the stethoscope or already have one and don’t enjoy the ear tips, we recommend checking for kits of extra earpieces that may be available on the market before choosing to buy a whole new stethoscope. Moreover, you should have well-fitting earpieces is to block out all external noises, which are plenty in a vet’s office.
Last, but absolutely not least, in the comfort of your furry little patient friends. I believe when it comes to taking ‘patient comfort’ into consideration, it is relatively more important when the patient is an animal. Now, let me explain. As humans, we can better and more easily adapt to new and uncertain situations. That is, we are aware of what a stethoscope is and why it is being placed on our bodies. For animals, however, it is a foreign object invading their space – which is something even most humans are not comfortable with.
Stethoscopes For Large Animals VS. Small Animals
The size of your animal patient, just as it is for humans, is definitely an important factor to consider when trying to figure out which stethoscope to buy. Why? Larger chest pieces are used to cover larger areas of the body, whereas smaller chest pieces are ideal for checking smaller, more concentrated, parts of the body. When a human doctor encounters a larger or heavier patient, they tend to reach for their larger chest pieces – the same principle applies to animals. Although you may choose to treat specific species’ of animals, you are most likely going to come in contact with a wide array of different kinds of animals (size, breed, temperaments, species, etc.). For this reason, having a dual head stethoscope is ideal.
How Much Should You Spend?
When looking for a stethoscope, it is important to first decide your budget and how much you are willing to spend on it. As a general rule, you should be ready and willing to spend $70+, to ensure you are purchasing a durable stethoscope that will stay with you for years to come. Most cheaper stethoscope options tend to break apart after a while of usage, resulting in having to spend more money on a new one – add these multiple expenses up and you’ll realize you could’ve spent that once on a good stethoscope. But don’t worry! In the case that you absolutely cannot afford to splurge on a new stethoscope, there are many platforms available online to buy and sell previously used stethoscopes. This is a great option for veterinary school students on a tight budget or those who may be looking for another stethoscope.
More often than not, the quality and dependability of a stethoscope is directly proportional to its price. Instead of being in awe of beautiful colors, finishes and general appearances, you should look for the best stethoscopes in regards to their ‘workings.’ That is, a sturdy stethoscope you can rely on is your best bet until you can save up and splurge on the one you wanted!
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
1. Do veterinary school students need a stethoscope?
Veterinary school students do indeed need a stethoscope. Just as human doctors need to auscultate, veterinarians also need to auscultate the animal’s body to observe the sounds and diagnose problems.
2. Can a human stethoscope be used on animals?
Human stethoscopes and animal stethoscopes are exactly the same. They are used for the same purpose and function in the same exact way, so yes, the human stethoscopes can and are used on animals.
3. Do vet nurses use stethoscopes?
All veterinary school students are required to have and learn how to use a stethoscope from the first year of their education.
4. How do I wear a stethoscope with a hijab?
To achieve optimum sound transmission, you must insert the earpieces directly into your ears under your hijab. There are some great methods available on YouTube.
5. Will the color of my stethoscope/stethoscope parts fade?
The answer to this question depends on the brand and quality of your stethoscope. For example, Littmann Stethoscope guarantees that the color will not fade, whereas other cheaper stethoscopes colors’ may eventually fade with usage.