Ahead of Jack Pye’s webinar “Responding FAST – the use of ultrasound in ECC” on Thursday the 9th of February at 19:00 GMT during Virtual Congress 2023, I have taken a look back at one of his most popular webinars on The Webinar Vet, “Ultrasound for Veterinary Nurses: You can scan! Utilising your skills” which is now free to watch in the “Meet our VC2023 Speakers” collection when you register for Virtual Congress 2023.


Jack qualified as a veterinary nurse in 2018 and in a short time has built up a considerable amount of experience in ultrasonography and ECC, gaining a certificate in 2022. He is currently an IMV imaging ambassador and consultant speaker for the veterinary nursing profession. This veterinary webinar is the first of three he delivered on this subject and he is due to speak in the upcoming 11th. Virtual Veterinary Congress 2023. Details on this and other related webinars are recommended at the end of this review. It seems to me there has never been a better time to develop this skill.

Jack points out that ultrasonography is still underutilised in practice and it’s fair to say he is doing more than most to rectify this. He is particularly keen on personal and professional development and has a passion to support other veterinary professionals to grow and enhance their skill sets. Although Jack’s first three webinars are aimed particularly at veterinary nurses, this is one discipline that lends itself very well to a comprehensive collaboration between nurses and vets. Vets seeking to increase their knowledge will find this webinar to be a very good starting point too.

The learning outcomes for the webinar are as follows: 

  • Understand the basic controls of the machine to optimise your ultrasound scan image quality
  • Understand when ultrasound can come in useful in a veterinary nursing job role
  • Recognise different organs and what is a normal appearance/structure when carrying out FAST scans
  • How to apply ultrasound in day to day practice with the use of scenarios

As might be expected a great deal of the webinar consists of excellent ultrasound images and I will restrict this review to a summary of what to expect, and of course a recommendation that you watch it!

After a brief review of machines the various buttons, along with their function are described under the heading ‘Knob-ology’. After this you have advice on which probe to pick, and a diagram explains possible fields of view that can be attained. Jack takes great care to list what veterinary nurses can do in this field and what they can’t do. The latter is a much smaller list and consists of only three things. A veterinary nurse cannot perform centesis (entering a body cavity), give a diagnosis or carry out ultrasonography without the owner’s consent.

The procedure has various uses. These include postoperative monitoring for operations such as gastrointestinal surgery, serial scanning, gut motility checks, triage assessments and thorax/abdomen scans. There is considerable emphasis placed on patient preparation with seven summary points. The IMV abdominal ultrasound checklist is depicted, before a series of images of normal features. Some basic information on echogenicity is described before a comprehensive section (with great ultrasound images), on normal liver, stomach and gastrointestinal tract, spleen, kidneys, and bladder. For each of these the site for the probe is shown, with the help of Jack’s dog!

This, of course, is essential preparation for the following section on abdominal abnormalities.  Here we can see: – abnormalities of the liver/gastrointestinal tract/spleen/kidney/bladder/ and even the ‘mythical’ adrenal glands. All are described with exceptional images. Armed with this knowledge Jack presents three cases, demonstrating how ultrasound greatly assisted diagnosis and post-operative care.

The next part of the webinar deals with thoracic point of care ultrasound, enabling us to look at the heart, lung fields and pleural space. This covers lung fields, A and B lines, the Glide, and lung abnormalities. It is possible to detect, as shown, free fluid in the pleural cavity, pneumothorax, the presence of abdominal organs and soft tissue masses. A normal view of a cardiac ultrasound is shown, complete with the ‘Mercedes Benz Sign’!  A few cardiac abnormal ultrasounds and a case example of a dyspnoeic patient conclude the webinar.

Jack’s Top Tips are:

  • Practice as much as possible (pre-medicated patients if appropriate)
  • Learn what the probe does, small movements, turning, angles, -there is more than one way of doing it
  • Prepare your patient
  • Build up your image library
  • Be patient
  • Watch more experienced sonographers and ask questions

And finally-‘You don’t need to be able to find a pancreas or adrenal glands to start doing an ultrasound scan’

An incredible amount of work has gone into this webinar and I counted at least 80 ultrasound images-there is your starter for building up an image library!

P.S. Ultrasound – You can scan! Utilising your skills!” by Jack Pye is available as an additional resource to VC2023 in the “Meet our VC2023 Speakers” collection, which is unlocked once you register to attend the event, find out more about registration below, and once you have registered remember to mark Thursday 9th February in your diary, as Jack will be presenting his next ultrasound webinar Responding FAST – the use of ultrasound in ECC” at 19:00 GMT.

Recommended previous webinars on ultrasound: 

  • 19th Ultrasound for Veterinary Nurses –all you need to know (Part 1) Jack Pye
  • 23rd Ultrasound for Veterinary Nurses (Part 2) Jack Pye
  • The FOVU Ultrasound Series with Dr Camilla Edwards