Stethoscopes are a vital part of the health care profession. As an acoustic device for auscultation, they are used to listen to heart and lung sounds, intestines, and blood flow in arteries and veins.
There are two main types of stethoscopes to choose from, the acoustic stethoscope which operates on the transmission of sound, and the electronic stethoscope which electronically amplifies sound. This review will provide you with helpful tips and advice on the best veterinary stethoscopes, in particular the 3M Littmann Small Animal Veterinary Stethoscope 27”, 3M Littmann Cardiology III Stethoscope 27”, and the 3M Littmann Master Classic II Veterinary Stethoscope 32”.
What makes the best Veterinary Stethoscope?
Looking for the right stethoscope can sometimes be an arduous task with numerous company advertisements telling you why their particular stethoscopes are superior. In determining the best fit for you this article will outline the most important factors to consider, and provide you with the top three most sought after stethoscopes for veterinary use.
In most cases the best stethoscope will be comfortable, have reliable high definition acoustics and an adjustable diaphragm to let you adjust between low and high frequency sounds. Identifying the size of animals that you are working with is also important. We recommend that small animal and mixed practices have both the Small Animal stethoscope for animals under 15 pounds (localizes sound), and a larger sized stethoscope for medium to large animals. There are also many stethoscopes with a double-sided chest piece; this enables you to easily switch between larger and small animals. What you do end up getting will depend on your practice and the animals that you work with.
While cheap stethoscopes may be initially attractive, they are less than ideal for a number of reasons. We found they tend to fall apart at the worst of times, are uncomfortable to wear, and won’t provide you with clear and precise acoustics.
Performance and Functionality is key
Under all circumstances, you want to ensure that the stethoscope you end up purchasing is functional and suited to your environment. In all of our reviews, we looked at performance and functionality as the most important factors in determining the following list of three best stethoscopes for veterinary use.
3MLittmannSmall Animal Veterinary Stethoscope 27”
The Small Animal received 4.5 stars out of 5 for its comfort, precision, and impressive acoustics on amazon.com. Combination 3/4″ infant chestpiece — diaphragm or open bell. Small size diaphragm Comfort is assured with an angled, anatomically correct headset, and tight soft sealing ear tips. The classic comes in a variety of colours, comprising, black, cell blue, green lilac, pink, and sea foam green, this stethoscope is very popular among EMT’s. it is optimal for animals under 15 pounds. You can purchase the Classic ll on Amazon.com for approximately $70, about 30% less than the regular retail price.
I found that the pink colour option advertised isn’t actually as vibrant, and the plastic tubing can stain from general use.
2. 3M Littmann Cardiology III Stethoscope 27”
The Cardiology received a 4.7 rating out of 5 on Amazon.com. It is a top-of-the-line scope and works extremely well for medium to large animals. With outstanding acoustics, and a comfortable fit, the innovative design and versatility lets you easily switch from medium sized animals to larger. It also features a dual lumen to eliminate interference caused by the tubes rubbing together, and an anatomically correct headset. Like the other Littmann stethoscopes, the Cardiology lll comes with the non-chill bell. It is available in a few colours, including black, brown, grey, purple and chocolate. The superior quality and durability is built to last, making the instrument a worthwhile investment. It retails at $200 but typically sells on Amazon.com for 26% less.
Be cautious that if warn in direct contact with your skin the tubing will stiffen and eventually crack. You can purchase a vinyl protector or be sure not to wear it in direct contact with your skin.
3M Littmann Master Classic II Veterinary Stethoscope 32”
The Master Classic ll also received 4.7 stars out of 5 on Amazon.com. This masterpiece is designed to let you hear both high and low frequency sounds from a single-sided chest piece. 1-3/4″ single sided chest piece. The chest piece design aids in auscultation over hair coats. It also features a lightweight headset, non-chill rim, and double-leaf binaural spring and patented Littmann soft-sealing ear tips. The longer tubing is ideal for equine and larger animal use. These soft-sealing ear tips are really great at blocking out all ambient noise. The Master can be purchased on Amazon.com for about $107, approximately 37% less than retail price.
Critical comments: Again be cautious wearing it in direct contact with your skin.
The Littmann Stethoscopes have been around since the late 1960’s, and have been offering high quality products ever since inception. Today the company, from its headquarters in St. Paul, Minnesota, serves industrial, healthcare, commercial customers and consumers in nearly 200 countries. As an EMT you won’t be disappointed with the exceptional performance acoustic sensitivity and superior value.