A Stethoscope is possibly the most important tool for the small animal vet.
The quality of sound you get from a stethoscope depends on the tubing and the head, thick tubing eliminates outside noise thereby giving a better quality sound, likewise the shorter the tubing the less distance the sound needs to travel therefore the less outside noise it picks up on the way.
Light thin tubed stethoscopes are usually cheaper and good for taking heart rates and surviving the back of the ute, however to pick up murmurs and subtle sounds invest in a high quality thick tubed stethoscope.
Here are my recommendations for different purposes:
Your first stethoscope
You will buy your first stethoscope during your first few years of vet school, unfortunately they don’t not come cheap so this will seem like a big investment as a poor student.
My recommendation is to choose a well priced but still high quality stethoscope. These Littmann stethoscopes are a good name, however remaining under $100 is a bonus when you are living on a budget. If you are planning on doing large animal work I suggest trying to find a 32″ tubing, Littman use to make a 32″ tubing stethoscope however this has recently gone off the market.
The limitation of this stethoscope is when it comes to paediatrics and exotics, the long tubing and single sided head can make hearing subtle sounds difficult.
For paediatrics, exotics and heart enthusiasts
If you need to hear the finer details this stethoscope is a must have.With shorter tubing and a dual head picking up murmurs and crackles is much easier.The head twists to allow you to switch from a labradors heart (diaphragm) to a chihuahua puppy (bell).
For a personal touch
If you want a high quality stethoscope but don’t want the generic navy blue/black Littmann also do a range of colours, above are just a couple of examples
Much cheaper then the Littmann range, sprague stethoscopes come with good reviews from the human and veterinary community. This stethoscope has double tubing for improved sound, a double head to allow an easy transistion between larger and smaller patients and a selection of ear pieces for personal comfort. It also comes in a range of bright colours so you never lose sight of it!
This section is self explanatory really, I like to have a handful of spare ear pieces on hand in case my stethoscope is nibbled on, and a name tag is always a good idea!
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