Top 5 Stethoscopes for Veterinary Professionals

Top 5 Stethoscopes for Veterinary Professionals

Abdominal X-ray (Radiographs) on a Dog
Some of the Top Accredited Vet Tech Schools in the US

Buying a stethoscope can be a mind-boggling process. Everyone has a different opinion about which model is the best. Just like any other product there are people that have brand loyalty despite other options on the market. The most expensive is not necessarily always the best, although there are some excellent stethoscopes in the top tier price range. Knowing what you need in terms of durability, acoustic quality, and size will go a long way toward finding the best stethoscope for your budget. The following are just a few to consider from all price ranges.

3M Littmann Cardiology III Stethoscope 3131BE

Many practitioners swear by the Littmann Cardiology line as the highest quality acoustics to be had in stethoscopes. Littmann is a quality name in the field. The Cardiology III has a dual head chest piece for adult and pediatric patients making it handy if you are caring for very small animals in addition to larger animals. The head has a tunable diaphragm meaning you can hear high and low frequencies by adjust the pressure placed on the head. The cardiology III also has a dual lumen tubing allowing greater noise reduction. The biggest complaint about the cardiology III is the price. At a price hovering around $200, it is a worth investigating less expensive models that may provide sufficient quality.

ProsCons
Superior acousticsPrice
Dual head for large and small animalsr warranty and high replacement parts cost compared to other brands
Longer tubing handy for working with large animals

 

Buyer’s guide:

  • Chest-piece: Stainless steel, Dual head
  • Weight: 6.2oz
  • Tubing: 22 or 27 inch dual lumen
  • Warranty: 5 year

3M Littmann Master Classic II Veterinary Stethoscope 1392

The Master Classic II, while not as strong acoustically as the Cardiology III, still has very good acoustics. Many practitioners with hearing loss swear by the Master Classic II. The veterinary version of this stethoscope boasts a 32” tubing that is designed for ease of use when working with very large animals. The Master Classic II has a single sided head with the same tunable diaphragm as the Cardiology III. It provides similar acoustics to the Cardiology III at half the price.  Because it is only a single headed chest piece, the Master Classic II may not be the ideal choice if working with very small patients. The extra long tubing may also be a hindrance if working in noisy environment. Again, the price may be a drawback compared to similar products.

ProsCons
Ultra-long tubing – 32”3 year warranty
Single headed chest piece with tunable diaphragmNot ideal for very small patients
Competitive acoustic quality

Buyer’s guide

  • Chest-piece: Alloy, Single head
  • Weight: 6.2oz
  • Tubing: 32 inch
  • Warranty: 3 year

Ultrascope Stethoscope 

UltraScope is a mid-range stethoscope with very good noise-reduction qualities. The acrylic head can be personalized to any design. The head is single sided and has a tunable diaphragm. While there is some disadvantage to the basic model if you work on smaller sized patients, there are models that offer interchangeable heads and longer tubing.

ProsCons
Excellent noise reduction for noisy environmentsSingle sided head can be detrimental when dealing with very small patients
Extremely customizable
Mid-range price
Lightweight for more comfort when wearing for long periods of time

Buyer’s guide

  • Chest-piece: Shatterproof Acrylic, Single head
  • Weight: 5.8oz
  • Tubing: 30 inch
  • Warranty: Lifetime Warranty and Replacement Parts

Prestige Medical Veterinary Clinical I

The Veterinary Clinical I is a good quality dual headed stethoscope with a low price range. This model features a 33” tubing with a stainless steel dual head. At a price of 1/3 the cost of other stethoscopes, it is a good buy for the price.  The diaphragms are not tunable. A single lumen tubing allows interference from outside sounds.

ProsCons
PriceLess noise reduction capability
Long TubingLower acoustic quality
Dual Head for patients of varying sizes

Buyer’s guide

  • Chest-piece: Stainless Steel, double head
  • Weight: 5.9oz
  • Tubing: 33 inch
  • Warranty: Limited Lifetime

MDF MD One Stainless Steel Premium Dual Head Stethoscope

The MDF MD One is of a quality construction for a low price. It features a stainless steel head and earpieces and a tunable diaphragm. At 8oz and 29.5”, the MD One stethoscope is the heaviest and shortest of those reviewed.

ProsCons
PriceShorter tubing
Dual HeadHeavier weight – can be uncomfortable over long periods
Lower acoustic quality

Buyer’s guide

  • Chest-piece: Stainless Steel, double head
  • Weight: 8 oz.
  • Tubing: 29.5 inch
  • Warranty: Lifetime with free replacement parts

Conclusion

Buying a stethoscope is complicated by the plethora of choices available. Not every model is right for every person. Consider how you will be using the stethoscope and how often. Durability and warranty length may be important if you are using it daily, especially if you are doing large animal and ambulatory work. Consider noise reduction if you are working in noisy environments or if you have some hearing loss. Also consider your experience. A more experienced practitioner may not actually need higher quality acoustics to hear certain heart sounds where a less experienced person might need the extra advantage until fully trained. Finally consider price and how it fits into your budget.