Practice Advisory: Pregnancy Diagnosis using Transabdominal Ultrasound
August 28, 2017
In late spring of 2017 the College received
an inquiry related to the utilization of technicians to perform pregnancy checks on small ruminants with
transabdominal ultrasound. In particular, this question arose in relation to two independent ultrasound
technicians in the small ruminant sector that were granted special permission to offer pregnancy diagnosis
services by the College in the 1990’s. At the time that this permission was granted, no veterinarians were
offering large scale pregnancy diagnosis in small ruminants. As one of these individuals is now considering
retirement plans, the College was asked to clarify who could perform these services, including how veterinary
technicians could be incorporated in offering this service.
The position of the College is that a pregnancy check, by any means, to confirm
pregnancy in an animal, is in fact a diagnosis. Only a veterinarian can make a diagnosis in relation to an
animal. Others may gather clinical information that assists with diagnosis, but the actual confirmation of a
diagnosis is considered the practice of veterinary medicine.
A veterinarian can utilize a technician to assist with the process of gathering
clinical information. This assistance must be delegated by the veterinarian and can be supervised
indirectly. The veterinarian retains the overall responsibility for this process and outcome. In the case of
ultrasound pregnancy diagnosis a technician could perform the transabdominal scan as long as an image is
saved with the animal’s identification for review and diagnosis by a veterinarian.
While inconsistent with the existing rules, the College will continue to permit
the two ultrasound technicians in Ontario who offer small ruminant pregnancy diagnosis services to continue
until their retirement.