By Don Jergler
For Veterinary Practice News
The veterinary monitor mar- ket seems to be steering
away from aging human hand-me-downs, and there are more
choices today than ever before.
Variety is usually a good
thing, but not always, warned
Andrew W. Schultz Jr., director of business development
for Midmark Animal Health in
“Quality [can be] an issue
because there are no regulatory
requirements or manufacturing standards that must be adhered to,” Schultz said.
When Schultz talks about
monitor quality today he’s referring to not just how well those
products are made but the quality of everything in the monitor
market from the sales experience to the user interface.
While some monitors may
fall short of Schultz’s expec-
tations, he does believe some
recent monitors provide an
ever-improving experience for
The better companies continue to improve the customer
experience, Schultz said, “from
intuitive menus, better functioning accessories and veter-inary-specific instructions, to
professional clinical technical
support that helps to train staff
on monitor set-up and more
quickly diagnose and fix trouble when it occurs.”
The market is heading into
a phase in which monitors are
being made specifically for veterinary use, according to Paul
Ulbrich, CEO of Vmed Technology in Mill Creek, Wash.
“Fewer products are human monitor hand-me-downs,”
Ulbrich said, adding that his
company makes its products
exclusively for veterinary use
and validates all its products
for veterinary patients.
Dan Kozisek, customer service director for Bionet America Inc. in Tustin, Calif., said
the biggest limitations of old
monitors are in blood pressure
and end tidal CO2 (EtCO2), and
that practices earning a more
moderate income traditionally
were often stuck with whatever monitors they could afford.
“Early blood pressure technology was notoriously unreliable, especially with cats.
EtCO2 was a luxury for the
wealthy practices,” Kozisek
said. “It is now within reach of
Some monitors on the veterinary market are geared to
capture human heart rates, falling way short for exotics and
sometimes for companion animals with problems yielding
abnormal heat rates, according
to Vmed’s Ulbrich.
“Most products are limited
in the heart rate they detect,”
said Ulbrich, noting that Vmed
makes monitors that can track
rates to 800 beats per minute.
“Human monitors track heart
rate at 20 to 300 bpm. While
this range is adequate for most
small animals, it will not regis-
ter with the occasional tachy-
cardia and is pretty much use-
less for exotics.”
Schultz said he has seen
gradual improvements in the
accuracy of monitors for quite
specific BP algorithms have been
around for over a decade, as
has digital pulse oximetry.
Both major breakthroughs for
obtaining reliable vital signs
readings in cats and dogs,”
Complexity and increased
utility have also crept into
monitors coming to market, as
clinics have slowly moved from
individual hand-held units that
monitor a single parameter to
monitors that read five or more
And a major upside to these
improvements is they have yielded greater efficiency for their users, though the units require a
bit of training, Schultz said.
“The days are gone when re-
Circle No. 133 on Reader Service Card Circle No. 126 on Reader Service Card
Neonatal medicine has contributed greatly to improvements in veterinary monitors.
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ECG on fish using Vmed PC-Vet Chek.
COUR TESY OF SYSTEMVE T
COURTESY OF JEFF KO, DVM, PURDUE UNIVERSI T Y
Today, ‘quality’ often refers to
entire user experience, not just
how well the hardware is made.