In the realm of professional expertise, certain tools become indispensable companions, shaping the way we work, innovate, and excel in our respective fields. Whether it’s a surgeon’s scalpel, a cardiologists stethoscope, or a neurologist’s MRI, these instruments embody the essence of our craft and become extensions of our capabilities.

Through candid interviews and illuminating anecdotes, we’ll gain valuable perspectives on the symbiotic relationship between professionals and their indispensable equipment.

So, buckle up and prepare to be inspired as we unveil the secrets of success, one essential tool at a time. Welcome to our VETgirl blog: “Unlocking Insights: Experts Reveal the Equipment They Can’t Live Without.”

Dr. Rebecca Syring, DACVECC: The one piece of equipment I cannot do without is my eyes, ears (with a stethoscope of course) and hands.  There is nothing more important than a thorough physical examination.  Feeling pulses means so much more to me about tissue perfusion than the actual blood pressure number in a compensated shock patient.  Coupling that with mucous membrane color and refill time.  Listening to the heart and lungs for murmurs, arrhythmias and abnormal lungs sounds vs referred upper airway sounds.  None of this can be determined better or less expensively than with your own eyes, ears and hands.

Dr. Andrew Rosenberg, DACVD: A high quality microscope.  This allows me to perform cytologies which is my most useful diagnostic test when practicing. What I see cytologically guides my therapy (e.g. antibiotics, vs. antifungals vs. biopsy vs. other diagnostics.)

Dr. Craig Clifford, Dip. ACVIM (Oncology): As an oncologist, it is my CBC machine.  But I will give honorable mention to my microscope for cytology and radiographs!

Dr. Peter Chapman, BVetMed(Hons), DECVIM-CA, DACVIM, MRCVS: My dedicated technician team. And at #2 – my ears for listening to clients tell me about their pets – the answer is always in the history.

Dr. Felicia Leung: Stethoscope.  But if you mean machine then microscope!

Dr. Alberto Fernandez, DACVECC: Stethoscope. There is nothing that can replace a well performed and thorough physical examination.  Your hands, eyes, and ears are trustworthy and reliable when you know how to use them appropriately.  You do not have to worry about a power outage, loss of Wifi, or machine calibration.  Humans miss more things for not looking than not knowing.

Dr. Chris Ralphs, DACVS: As a surgical specialist, the equipment that helps me most to be efficient and effective in the OR is electrocautery.  I use it in almost every procedure and without it I would be much slower and have more blood loss and frustration! As a doctor who is also in charge of my patient’s anesthesia and with a thought toward what I would want as a general practitioner doing surgery, I would say an end-tidal CO2 monitor.  I have worked at several places over the years and have found that every time we get a CO2 monitor we discover than many of our patients are (were) hypercapneic and we do a much better job of anesthesia with a CO2 monitor.  This is a very reasonable purchase for any general practitioner and is a better way to judge ventilation than the notoriously unreliable pulse-ox!  It is also easy to use, not finicky and easy to interpret.

Dr. Natalie Marks: It has to be ultrasound! I can scan a bladder during a cyst, do a POCUS for emergency screening, collect aspirates and even AUS-guided tru-cut biopsies, stage cancer patients, assess heart disease, look for hydrocephalus, assess eyeball health, tap a pericardial effusion And the list goes on…. It is an invaluable part of so many workups!

Dr. Shelby Reinstein, MS, DACVO: Easy answer – LIGHT.  I use light all day everyday and could NOT live without it!  When examining the eye, I use various types of light – diffuse light beams, focal strong light beams, slit beams of lights, cobalt blue light and more!  These different types of light each provide me with different information about the different parts of the eye and allow me to make an accurate diagnosis.

Dr. Gordon D. Peddle, DACVIM (Cardiology): I need that echo to survive!

Dr. Amy Kaplan, DACVECC: I guess for a practical answer I’d have to say I can’t live without a good quality stethoscope because what do you reach for to make sure an animal is still alive when you can’t feel a pulse and can’t find it via Doppler? Your stethoscope! And even though it goes without saying that you can diagnose a lot off the lower airway sounds heard through the stethoscope, even a lack of sound has significant diagnostic value!  For anesthesia, I can’t live without capnography…I mean, I CAN monitor without it, but with my anxiety through the roof, and eyes darting back and forth from ECG to pulse oximetry to blood pressure. But out of all my monitoring equipment, that capnograph can give me the best global appreciation for how my patient is doing – it can even suggest if your patient’s relative Intravascular volume status is changing if you know how to read it right! How cool is that!

What do I take away from these interviews? In today’s world of ever-evolving technology and complex solutions, it’s easy to overlook the value of simplicity. Yet, time and again, it’s the simple tools that prove to be the most beneficial. While the allure of innovation may tempt us to gravitate towards complex solutions and shiny new equipment, it’s essential not to overlook the inherent value of simplicity.

  1. Sometimes the thing that has been around the longest is still the most valued object. And I agree the stethoscope will forever be an invaluable tool.

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