To say that Julia Fletcher is passionate about animal welfare would be a huge understatement. Working with animals in a multitude of capacities since the 90s, she has developed a strong moral code, leading to a formidable reputation in the ultrasound industry as a highly skilled and trustworthy scanner.
Working mostly from her home office in Dudley and carrying out mobile scans (using her Scan Pad Plus) within a 25 mile radius, Julia has undertaken a wide range of related training opportunities to diversify her business and reinforce her knowledge. Starting out as a feline breeder, she then moved onto canine breeding, and discovering her preference for working with dogs, invested in a dog trainer instructors’ course from the British Institute of Professional Dog Trainers. After witnessing so many pregnancy ultrasounds she decided to become an accredited scanner herself. Highly motivated, not only is she a Level 2 scanner but also a cytologist, AI and microchipping technician, proficient in puppy intensive care and a full AUA member. An impressive list of achievements for any professional.
Like most ultrasound scanners, Julia is continually excited about discovering those first signs of life; “I just love seeing those tiny sacs and knowing they contain little lives! And being able to pick out the paws and features at 6 or 7 weeks is amazing! I love and hate what I do…” When I question this last statement, Julia explains that over the years, she’s witnessed countless cases of clear neglect, and in some cases, abuse of the dogs that she’s met:
“It’s so hard. I want to help, I care about the dogs. But if I can see a bitch is in poor condition, or too young to be having a litter, then I have to refuse care. It’s just too upsetting and I don’t want to encourage unethical practices.”
Sadly, this is the tricky side of the industry if you have a true passion for animals. To help end the exploitation of this trusting species, Julia is careful to ask questions about the bitch prior to accepting appointments for either pregnancy scanning or AI. She agrees that at first, it can seem foolish to turn away valuable business, but that helping unscrupulous dog owners only perpetuates bad practice, and she is unwilling to be responsible for that. Emotionally, she feels it’s important to safeguard yourself. I couldn’t agree more.
To further shield both mother and pups, Julia has a trusted associate that she can call on to do routine scan appointments when she is needed for more pressing duties. She owns a second ultrasound machine just for this purpose, and to ensure accuracy, she monitors her associate’s scan on Whatsapp, in addition to checking in on the expectant mother at various stages. There could not be a more thorough, caring scanner.
Concerning training, Julia reiterates the importance of research, and not being seduced by cheap courses that pop up first on a google search. In addition to finding a thorough, highly respected instructor, she also highlights that it’s essential to ask them lots of questions, learn key ultrasound landmarks (such as the bladder and spleen), own a good anatomy/physiology book and to buy the best and most portable scanning equipment you can afford. In addition to this; “be passionate, be friendly, but don’t be tempted to make anything up if you aren’t sure. Clients tend to take whatever you say as gospel, so if in doubt, refer to another scanner or vet- these are real lives that you are helping to protect.” She reinforces this by explaining that she always follows up on a negative pregnancy scan to make sure she wasn’t mistaken, and is as accurate as she possibly can be when measuring fetuses at 4/5weeks in case of necessary cesareans where puppy age is crucial; “human error can be fatal.”
On a positive note, this is one of the reasons why she is so delighted to have found Catherine Stowell and the Animal Ultrasound Association:
“I’m so happy to be a part of an association that is concerned with ethics. I proudly show my membership card to anyone that wants to know more. It feels good to be attached to a body of experts in the field.”
To contact Julia for a scan in your area, look no further than her AUA profile, or directly call: 07853868957