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stethoscope pick

Discussion in 'Pre-Veterinary' started by chibry, Apr 24, 2007.

  1. chibry

    chibry 2+ Year Member

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    Dec 6, 2006
    Does anyone have any suggestions on good stethoscopes? I am completely new to buying one so I'd appreciate explanations of the differences, thanks.
     
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  3. chipster

    chipster UPenn VMD class of 2011 2+ Year Member

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    Nov 5, 2006
    Philadelphia, PA
    hi chibry,
    I'm in the same boat. I know nothing about stethoscopes but I suggest searching in this forum on them and I found lost of postings on the same subject. they have really given me a good idea about what to look for.
     
  4. StealthDog

    StealthDog U of MN 2010 Veterinarian 7+ Year Member

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    Feb 17, 2006
    There are two approaches to buying a scope:

    1) Buy a cheap one with the assumption that it will get stepped on/clawed/bitten/stolen sometime during vet school, and upgrade to a more expensive one when you graduate

    2) Buy an expensive one with the assumption that it's better to learn on what you'll actually be using in practice, rather than switching at graduation, and just be really careful with it.

    Littmanns are the scopes you'll see used most often, and my class is pretty evenly divided between the cheap one (the classic II or whatever) and the more expensive ones (cardio, master cardio, etc). Price generally reflects quality, but not always- your ears are individual, and for some people they can hear way more with the cheap one than with the expensive one. If you can, try some out before you buy one to see what you like best.

    I decided to go with a Harvey Elite (http://www.steeles.com/catalog/harvey.html) as a middle-of-the-road scope. I like it a lot, but can't say I've really used it enough to tell if it's any better or worse than the Littmanns.

    Good luck! Whatever you do, make sure you get a name tag on it!
     
  5. AuburnPreVet

    AuburnPreVet AU CVM Class of 2011 5+ Year Member

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    Nov 10, 2004
    Podunk
    From what I've seen most students use a Littman cardio II, cardio III, or master cardiology....several use Welch Allyns as well. After fiddling with a few, I personally like the Cardio III best - even though the master cardio is a "better" scope. I just seem to hear things better on the cardio III... (It may be that I'm doing something "wrong" when using the master cardio.. who knows).
     
  6. kate_g

    kate_g Senior Member 2+ Year Member

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    Apr 4, 2006
    "I like the cheaper one better" is something I've heard a lot about stethoscopes. Not personal experience, but I've heard others complain that with a scope that's made to be really super-sensitive you'll hear your fingers more often than whatever you're trying to listen to...
     
  7. Angelo84

    Angelo84 Tufts Class of 2011 10+ Year Member

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    Jan 25, 2007
    I asked the vets I work with and they both recommended the Littman classic with the pediatric or infant head.
     
  8. chibry

    chibry 2+ Year Member

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    Dec 6, 2006
    Thanks!
     
  9. Nexx

    Nexx 2 weeks and counting 5+ Year Member

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    Oct 10, 2006
    Western Australia
    I've used several littmann stethoscopes (Lightweight II; Master Cardiology; Cardiology III; Master Classic II;) My personal preference is for the Master Cardiology because I like the tunable diaphragm.

    The internal medicine specialist I work with uses the Master Cardiology as did out Cardiac Resident. Our cardiologist is still using the Cardio III as the Master Cardiology wasn't out yet when he bought his last one. He is considering going to one of the electronic ones with noise cancelling technology for his next one (the 4100WS I think..)

    It really is a personal choice. So I would be in the cheaper is better camp. Then you can always try out and see what your classmates use and if you like theirs :p~

    Oh, and for the record I'd recommend the longer tubing as well. (27" versus 22") Especially if it means your head will be 5" further away from the fractious cat/dog as you auscult them.

    Oh and hopefully this is what I'll be getting.. we'll see though :oops:

    [​IMG]
     
  10. RazorDoc2010

    RazorDoc2010 Mizzou 2011 2+ Year Member

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    Oct 1, 2006
    Missouri
    oooh...that's perty...
     
  11. Emio

    Emio Fudge Bane 7+ Year Member

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    Jan 12, 2007
    Columbus
    i REALLY like the look of that one, Nexx, but what about the lack of two different sizes of diaphragm? while we're in school, won't we need both a small animal and a large animal side? or is that what tunable diaphragm means?
     
  12. mtrl1

    mtrl1 UC Davis Class of 2011 7+ Year Member

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    Sep 15, 2006
    Boston, MA
    First piece of advice: buy it on ebay; I got my (new in box) Cardio III for $100 (normally retails for $150-175). You can get great discounts.

    I love my Littmann Cardio III; since I'll be working on little critters (avian/exotics) as well as dogs and cats (and I have interned previously with horses), I like the dual head sizes...it's a bit tricky when your scope is bigger than your parakeet. I've tried a bunch of different scopes while working, and I prefer the Cardio III over the Master Cardio.

    My only complaint is that it's a bit heavy, I'll probably invest in a pediatric eventually.
     
  13. Nexx

    Nexx 2 weeks and counting 5+ Year Member

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    Oct 10, 2006
    Western Australia
    Emio,

    I guess they both have tunable diaphragms or at least that is what I'm now reading ;)

    The Cardio III just has two of them, and yes has the smaller size but both are listed for pediatric use

    The Master Cardio does come with a "Special procedures adapter" for "difficult site or pediatric auscultations"
     
  14. 4theanimals

    4theanimals 2+ Year Member

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    Dec 21, 2006
    Fort Collins, CO
     
  15. pressmom

    pressmom Third year! 2+ Year Member

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    Apr 4, 2007
    When do we need a stethoscope? The second we step on campus? Third year? Fourth year? Money's kind of tight this summer....so I'm hoping not right away.
     
  16. ckitten

    ckitten 2+ Year Member

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    Feb 19, 2007
    by pediatric do they mean one of the ones where both the bell and diaphragm are smaller or do they just mean to get one with a bell as well as a diaphragm?
     
  17. PAThbrd

    PAThbrd LA Surgery Resident Moderator Emeritus 7+ Year Member

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    Aug 9, 2004
    Massachusetts
    We used ours first semester, about a month or so into school.

    I really like my Cardio III.
     
  18. kate_g

    kate_g Senior Member 2+ Year Member

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    Apr 4, 2006
    Were you required (or "strongly recommended") to get one of your own right away? Like, was it on the list of books and supplies you're supposed to get before school starts? (I know all schools are different, and I'm not going to Penn so your exact situation isn't 100% relevant to me, I'm just wondering what the norm is.)
     
  19. StealthDog

    StealthDog U of MN 2010 Veterinarian 7+ Year Member

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    Feb 17, 2006
    We needed one about three weeks into school for Large Animal Clinical Skills- but not all schools do clinical skills courses first year.

    I've heard that you should beware of the longer tubing- longer tubing=worse acoustics (since the sound has to travel farther between the animal and your ear). They recommend them for people who'll be doing large animal work, but none of our large animal clinicians use the longer ones.
     
  20. wivet2011

    wivet2011 2+ Year Member

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    Mar 9, 2007

    Good thing to know!
     
  21. chibry

    chibry 2+ Year Member

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    Dec 6, 2006
    So is a normal length 27"?
     
  22. AuburnPreVet

    AuburnPreVet AU CVM Class of 2011 5+ Year Member

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    Nov 10, 2004
    Podunk
    I think 22" is the standard length, but there are several other lengths available.
     
  23. ratbandit

    ratbandit 2+ Year Member

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    Jan 11, 2007
    from Litmann website:
    "In an attempt to clarify the information surrounding tubing length, Littmann stethoscopes has tested their product line to offer the following information about tubing length.
    To explain our test results, it will be helpful to compare the tubing of the stethoscope to a garden hose. For example, an increase in the length of a garden hose will decrease the pressure at the end of the hose as a result of frictional and other internal forces. The same effect occurs when the tubing length of a stethoscope is increased. However, in the case of stethoscope tubing, change in length is relatively small; this decrease in acoustic pressure is not detectable by the human ear.
    Additionally, as tubing length increases, resonant frequency decreases. Considering this fact, an increase in tubing length provides a better response to the lower frequency sounds (an advantage in auscultation). Many heart sounds fall below 150 Hz and are considered low frequency. Because it has been shown that the human ear is least sensitive to low frequency sounds, improved low frequency response is an advantage.
    Taking these two factors into account, there is no detectable difference in acoustical performance between Littmann stethoscopes with shorter tubing vs. those with longer tubing. In fact, there may be some enhancements to low frequency sounds."
     
  24. ri23

    ri23 OSU CVM Class of 2011 7+ Year Member

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    Nov 28, 2006
    Oh, so that's why we took physics as a pre-req ;)
     
  25. Quaggi

    Quaggi Member 10+ Year Member

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    Feb 28, 2006
    MA
    At tufts we started clinical skills class right away but it wasn't officially required that you have a stethoscope right away (as in, if you didn't have one you could share). But I would recommend just getting it this summer, it's a pain to have to deal with things like that once classes pick up. Also if you have any job on campus in the hospitals it's a must. I have a littmann classic II SE with a bell and a diaphragm and i'm very happy with it so far. but ultrascopes are prettier!
     
  26. kate_g

    kate_g Senior Member 2+ Year Member

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    Apr 4, 2006
    This is a good point. I haven't got a job lined up right from the start or anything, but I *would* like to figure out if I could handle a couple hours a week pretty soon after starting.

    Also, not specifically for Quaggi but all the current vet students: In so many of these threads people have referred to stethoscopes getting lost and stolen, to the point of advocating engraving over a clip-on name tag that could easily be removed by the thief. Lost I can see, since some models are so common - you mislay it, somebody else finds it and figures it belongs to the department, sticks it in a drawer somewhere, and it disappears into the system... (and accidental exchanges: later you see the same model lying around, and pick it up figuring it's yours when really that one *did* belong to the department...) Obviously all of that can be prevented with a name tag. But intentional theft? Who is this criminal element? All of the vet students I've met so far seem more like the type that would be absolutely crushed by the guilt of having stolen a *pen* from a classmate, much less a stethoscope. Is it bitter tech staff that resents the students? Do the custodians (or faculty!) make a side business selling almost-new stethoscopes on the black market? :smuggrin:
     
  27. wivet2011

    wivet2011 2+ Year Member

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    Mar 9, 2007
    :laugh: You bet!!
     
  28. ShelterGirl

    ShelterGirl UC Davis SVM 2012 5+ Year Member

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    Bay Area, CA
    I :love: my ultrascope - and not just because I could get it in my favorite color, either (but that helps!)
     
  29. DOGandFELine

    DOGandFELine

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    Mar 5, 2007
    So what makes you like the ultrascope so much? Is it a better quality scope due to the acrylic head? I would love to get one if I knew it was better because the designs are very cool!!!
     
  30. ShelterGirl

    ShelterGirl UC Davis SVM 2012 5+ Year Member

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    Dec 21, 2006
    Bay Area, CA
    I can hear more clearly with the ultrascope than with the regular Littman ones. One of my coworkers has the Littman cardio (sorry, don't know what model that is) and I liked that one too. I should add that I work almost exclusively with small animals.

    If you get a chance, I'd recommend trying some out before buying because different people have different preferences. I was fortunate enough to have nice coworkers who would share. :)
     
  31. StealthDog

    StealthDog U of MN 2010 Veterinarian 7+ Year Member

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    Feb 17, 2006
    Fair enough- but I've still never seen a large animal clinician using a scope with longer-than-average tubing ;)
     
  32. ckitten

    ckitten 2+ Year Member

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    Feb 19, 2007
    I'm still curious on this point... is it good enough just to get a bell/diaphragm combo or does it have to be the smaller size? and advantages/disadvantages of either? my parents:love: want to get me a stethascope for a going away gift.
     
  33. mtrl1

    mtrl1 UC Davis Class of 2011 7+ Year Member

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    Sep 15, 2006
    Boston, MA
    Pediatric/Infant scopes:
    http://solutions.3m.com/wps/portal/!ut/p/kcxml/04_Sj9SPykssy0xPLMnMz0vM0Q9KzYsPDdaP0I8yizeINzQLCtAvyHBUBADZMDyp?PC_7_0_2BS8_command=CustomizePageHandler&PC_7_0_2BS8_theme=littmann_portal&PC_7_0_2BS8_output=html&PC_7_0_2BS8_vroot=F9G1189154ge&PC_7_0_2BS8_gvel=D77LGQCVJWgl&PC_7_0_2BS8_node=GSDW605Y3Kbe&PC_7_0_2BS8_root=GST1T4S9TCgv

    The only way to figure out what you like in a scope is to use a bunch of different models. The pediatric infant scopes have both a bell and a diaphragm, while my cardio III has a tunable diaphragm (it comes with the piece to convert the small side to a bell if you want to); I control bell/diaphragm modes with pressure (i.e. I don't have to turn the scope over). Any non-electronic Littmann scope either has both, or a tunable diaphragm, as far as I know.
     

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