Even with the great restrictions and social distancing in place, your dedicated care team and doctors at Brook-Falls are continuing to learn and develop new skills to help improve the quality of care that we offer. We enjoy sharing our knowledge gained from those educational opportunities with our clients and communicating what it means for you and your beloved pets!
Recently, Dr. Esteban Barajas had the opportunity to attend continuing education (CE) put on by FASTVet. FAST is an acronym for the abbreviated ultrasound examination called Focused Assessment with Sonography for Trauma created as a triage and post-interventional screening test by human trauma surgeons in the 1990s. It quickly morphed into a non-trauma (triage), and monitoring (tracking) point-of-care imaging tool. Variations of FAST have been developed by FASTVet for veterinarians as a rapid, low impact, point-of-care first-line screening test, to answer important clinical questions. This CE was designed to help learn minimally invasive and efficient ways to scan the chest and abdomen of pets with an ultrasound to help scan patients in critical and non-critical situations. Below please read the information from Dr. Barajas that discusses the value of education and how we can better serve your pets.
From Dr. Barajas: Focused Assessment with Sonography for Trauma
I learned new and exciting techniques from FASTVet to quickly and methodically scan the chest and abdomen of pets to find obvious fluid buildup, masses, or other abnormalities. These are additional tools that we can use in general practice to look for causes of illness in pets that may otherwise not be visible on 2-dimensional imaging, such as digital X-rays. This course encompassed three main topics: AFAST, TFAST (abdominal and thoracic focused assessment with sonography for trauma), and VETBLUE (lug surface ultrasound). Each scan is used to quickly access the area in question for quick evaluation of a pet.
These scans take approximately 15-20 minutes in the treatment area and can give vital and even lifesaving information about a pet. The scan can quickly tell us if there is fluid in the abdomen or around the heart, as well as help us quantify how much fluid is present. This technique can also help us identify if there are masses in the abdomen and/or small nodules on the surface of the lung that may be too small to detect on XRAYS.
For this ultrasound method, the pet does not usually need to be sedated or shaved, unlike other ultrasound exams. This method of imaging uses the ultrasound probe and simply parts the fur in specific areas and uses a combination of ultrasound gel and isopropyl alcohol which allows for small windows of imaging that give the practitioner crucial information about the pet.
This new technique will help the other veterinarians and myself at Brook-Falls to better serve the pets in our care and I look forward to implementing this new method at the practice.
Esteban Barajas, DVM