Almost every veterinarian office needs to be able to accurately weigh their animal patients. A typical office may have dogs, cats, birds, reptiles and other small animals. Of course, there is a very wide range of size and weights between them. Even comparing dogs, there is a huge range between the smallest breeds and a Saint Bernard. A specific breed can also show a great variance between individual animals, and of course between animals of different ages. Medication that is prescribed for an animal is often based on the weight of that animal. Clearly, a dog that weighs 12 pounds cannot receive the same amount of medication as one that weighs 120 pounds. In the case of anesthetic during surgery, the amount that must be used on a large dog could easily result in unfortunate results for a very small dog. Veterinary scales are commonly used for weighing the animals. These animal scales have a number of features that are useful for accurate and easy weighing. The capacity of the electronic scale should exceed the weight of the largest animal that will be seen. For small animal practices, a 500 lb capacity scale is certainly more than enough. The sensitivity of the scale is also quite important. If the scale can only show one pound increments, it will not be useful for accurately weighing birds, reptiles and cats, and even small puppies. Many veterinarian scales provide resolution down to 2 tenths of a pound. The highest quality units, such as those offered by Arlyn Scales, display increments of 1 tenth of a pound. This allows the veterinarian office to only maintain a single scale, instead of needing to also purchase a second, small capacity electronic scale. The digital display gives the staff the weight information that they need. The animal scale should provide a large, easy to read display. This avoids transcription errors when recording animal weights. It also allows the scale operator to handle the animal without needing to be directly at the weight display in order to read it. A Weight Average and Hold function, supplied with the Arlyn Scales, will capture the correct weight of an animal that may not stand still. Generally, a moving animal will result in a weight display that shows high levels of variance. Activating this function puts the animal scale into a mode that examines the weight of the animal on the platform over a period of a number of seconds. Special software filters out the animal movement, and retains only the correct animal weight. This will be locked onto the digital display. The animal may be removed from the scale platform without the weight disappearing from the display screen. Only after the weight has been noted, the scale operator can release that weight from the indicator so that another animal can be weighed. While it is possible to manually record the weights of the animals, a USB memory stick is an available option on some animal scales for recording weights. The stick can stay in place as long as needed, and record as many weights as necessary. It can then be removed from the veterinary scale and plugged into any computer. The computer can read the data directly from the USB stick, and enter it into any appropriate software program. Sometimes, the veterinarian will carry an animal onto the scale platform. The tare function can store the weight of the person by themselves, acquire a new weight of the person carrying the animal, and then automatically subtract the weight of the person to display just the weight of the animal. But in many cases, it is better to simply lead the animal directly onto the scale platform. In this case, it is beneficial to use a veterinary scale that has a very low profile platform. The animal is more likely to be cooperative, if it does not need to have a large step up. Arlyn Scales provides an extremely low profile platform of only 1 7/8Ó. A veterinary environment may not be ideal for all types of electronic scales. The animal scales may need to be washed down after use. Fluids may be present that can cause corrosion or other types of damage to the load sensors, which are the active weighing devices on the scale. Many scales may incorporate aluminum load cells, because they are easy to manufacture and are less expensive. The best veterinary scales use stainless steel load cells. Not only are they less susceptible to corrosion damage, but they are also much more rugged than the other type. This may be particularly handy in an office where the animal owners, and their children, may also wish to weigh themselves. The material of the scale platform and frame is also important. Many animal scales include painted metal. This is generally not a good idea, as it will quickly corrode. A better choice is fully welded aluminum construction. A rubber mat on top of the aluminum platform will be much more comfortable for the animal when they stand on it.
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