About us

The Animal Ultrasound Association are a community interest company dedicated to scanning excellence. Find out about why the AUA was set up and how you can work with us.

Catherine Stowell

AUA Founder & Echocardiographer

The AUA was founded by Catherine Stowell, a sonographer who has worked with ultrasound and animals over the last 15 years. Over this time, Catherine recognised a need to establish a safe and regulated community around ultrasound scanning.

Yvette Lovis

Clinical Specialist Sonographer

Yvette Lovis is a specialist obstetric sonographer and has been teaching level 1 and level 2 canine pregnancy courses since 2014.

Setting the standard for paraprofessionals

The increasing accessibility and affordability of ultrasound equipment has led to its deprofessionalisation in some areas. Incorrect technique and interpretation can deliver a substandard service to pet owners, and even puts animals’ lives at risk. 

In addition, it must not be forgotten that ultrasound deposits energy into the body. There are now many machines on the market that fail to comply with EU and FDA safety standards, often in the hands of operators who have had no training on correct scanning technique, exposure times or biohazards. This is particularly worrisome for sensitive applications such as a pregnancy scanning in small animals.

The Animal Ultrasound Association was created in 2016, in response to a demand from animal scanning professionals who wanted better protection of their profession and ongoing, career-long training and development. It was decided that this should be created as a Community Interest Company (CIC) that individuals could join as members, in order to feel real engagement with the community mission.

Since this time, we have continued to uphold the highest standards of ultrasound teaching (with all courses taught by qualified sonographers), and continue to raise awareness amongst the general public, veterinarians and politicians around the differences between the paraprofessionals we represent, and individuals operating without proper training or equipment.

If you are interested in becoming a member of the AUA, please see our training courses here or, if you are a veterinarian or have already been trained by a qualified professional, you can view our membership options here.

Working in partnership with veterinarians

Many of our members are licensed veterinarians, who support our mission and enjoy working in partnership with paraprofessionals that they can trust to operate at a high ethical and technical standard.

We also offer echocardiography training through the AUA, exclusively for veterinary professionals, applying our same core principles of safe and responsible use of ultrasound. While there are fantastic lectures or short courses available in cardiac ultrasound, very few provide on-going support, leaving vets to ‘figure it out’ alone. Without a standard that everybody is working to, conclusions are not reproducible between operators and diagnoses are at best meaningless, and at worst harmful. It is this realisation that leads to so many people giving up on echocardiography and writing it off as “too difficult.” We believe that the quality of life for pets, pet owners and vets can be improved through wider access to echocardiography. Click here to visit our training courses for veterinarians.

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