Making Equine Ultrasound Safe and Affordable For Breeders

First things first …

The first thing to determine is … which CTS-3300V do you have? The original CTS-3300V did not have the gain sliders on the right side of the console (see the top image below). The newer CTS-3300V+ (which is called “+” even though it doesn’t actually say “+” in the name on it) has the gain sliders (see the bottom of the two images below).

I’ll be providing tips and instruction on each, but just be sure to pay most attention to the material concerning the system you actually have.

(And NOTE: the actual photographs below are of a different system altogether, the CTS-5500 model with a tendon probe, but the principles covered here on setting everything up are the same.)

The Original CTS-3300V:



The Newer CTS-3300V+:


Unpacking the system …

1.) The ultrasound itself. Unwrap any plastic that is on it and we will plug everything in as we go through the rest of the steps.


2.) The box of cords and stuff. Most of the items I’ll cover below, but a few of them I can cover here: The dust cover, some spare fuses (keep those in a drawer somewhere), a green and yellow grounding cable (you can throw that out, unless your barn only has a two-prong outlet).


The power cord is basically a standard computer cord. This plugs into the back and then into either a wall outlet, a surge protector (even better).


4.) The video printer cable — with two silver "BNC" twist connections. You only need this if you have a digital video printer, which is very unlikely.


5.) The video printer remote cable — again, something you probably will have no need for.


6.) Find the probe-holder in the box and unwrap it. This inserts into the side of the ultrasound above where the probe will plug in. This is where you will hang your probe (unless you have an ultrasound cart, in which case you will likely hang the probe from that instead).


7.) The probe is in its own padded box. (Note: the probe shown here is an external tendon probe. You probably have the equine/bovine transrectal repro probe.) First thing to do with the probe: if it has a crinkly plastic sheath around the probe cord, you want to carefully tear or cut that off. That’s gotta go.

The next few images cover plugging in the ultrasound probe. You want to plug in the probe before turning the machine on. (Indeed, you always want the system OFF when you plug in or unplug the probe.) Your transrectal veterinary reproductive probe will of course be different than the one shown in this image, however (the one shown here is a linear tendon probe).

The probe plugs into the "Probe A" slot, with the words "SIUI" facing UP and the cord pointed toward the BACK of the ultrasound.
Also note the little gray twist knob on the side of it: you want that pointing UP toward the word "SIUI."

Once you firmly insert the probe into the "Probe A" slot, twist the gray locking knob clockwise 90 degrees to a flush position. This will lock the probe in place.

With the probe plugged in, and perhaps after you have torn off the crinkly plastic from the probe cord, you can hang the probe from either the probe holder on the side of your ultrasound or from one of the probe slots on the ultrasound cart.


Now let’s go around to the back of the system …

8.) This is the back of the ultrasound, with the power cord plugged in and the master power switch turned to "1" (which means "On") and the little green master power supply light lit up. Not all systems have this switch. If yours does, always leave this master power switch turned ON. Never use the master power switch on the back of the ultrasound (assuming you actually have one on your system). Flipping that switch is like turning off the main power on the back of a computer. Always leave this switch ON.

Instead of the switch in the back, you will always use the round green power button or the power switch on the front of the ultrasound (at the top left corner of the ultrasound console) to turn the system on and off. This will properly launch the software and properly close it down when you’re finished.

Important USB drive tip: You will plug in your USB thumb drive firmly into the top USB port, but only after the system is turned on. And you will unplug the USB drive only after the system is turned off. In other words: Turn on the system, then plug in the USB drive. When you are going to move the machine to another outlet, turn off the system, then unplug the USB drive (and perhaps set it on top of the ultrasound in the depression under the handle). This protocol minimizes the chances of messing up data on the thumb drive and helps ensure that your ultrasound performs properly.

Now let’s move around to the front of the system …

NOTE: The images on this page are of the CTS-5500, not the CTS-3300V+. They’re similar enough for our purposes here, however, until I grab some new photos!

10.) This is the button to use when turning the system on or off. Your system might actually have a power switch above this, just below the left corner of the monitor.


11.) With the system turned on, and ideally with the sun blocked and no fluorescent lights bouncing off the screen (you always want to work in dim lighting if possible), I recommend adjusting the monitor brightness and contrast settings, and usually in this fashion: First, press the leftmost button and hold it down for a few seconds to lower the brightness of the screen, making the black background truly black rather than gray. Then press the rightmost button and hold that down for a few seconds to increase the contrast, making your whites and blacks more definitive. This is definitely something you have to adjust by seeing it, and you may want to tweak it over the first few days of using the ultrasound.


12.) Last, assuming you have the newer CTS-3300V+ with the gain sliders on the right, arrange your TGC Gain Sliders all basically along the middle (not the way you see them in the above photos). As you begin to work with the ultrasound, you will get a feel for which ones you want to move more to the left (darkening those parts of the screen) and which more to the right (brightening those parts of the screen). Generally, the middle is safe territory. Any part of the image you’re not paying any attention to whatsoever, you can darken by moving those sliders to the left, and in the area of the image you DO care about, you will want to carefully tweak those sliders to make that part of the image brighter or darker as needed. This is covered more later under Work Flow Pre-Capture.


Click here for the next step …

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