Heart disease in pets is more common than most people think. At Country Animal Clinic we have the expertise to take ultrasound images of your pet’s heart. This gives us a greater chance of correctly diagnosing your pet’s heart ailment. This technique is called an echo-cardiogram or echo for short.
How does an echo-cardiogram help the heart?
An echo-cardiogram uses ultrasound to make images of the heart. It gives you more information than an x-ray as you can visualise the inside of the heart. You see all the heart chambers, valves, arteries and veins. You can also accurately measure various parts of the heart. Changes in these measurements will point out early problems. These can be missed on a clinical examination and x-rays. An echo also allows you to asses the blood flow through the heart and detect any problems, for example a leaky valve or a narrowing in the aorta.
Who benefits from an echocardiogram?
- Any dog or cat with a heart murmur.
- Dogs of the following breeds that are 6 years or older: Great Dane, Irish Wolfhound, Doberman Pincher, Boxer and American Cocker Spaniel. (These breeds all have a predisposition for dilated cardiomyopathy, a genetic disease that can be detected with an echo before they develop symptoms)
- Cats of the following breeds that are 6 years or older: Main Coon, Persian, Ragdoll and American Shorthair (These breeds all have a predisposition for hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, a genetic disease that can be detected with an echo before they develop symptoms)
- Any cat with high blood pressure
- Any dog or cat with unresolved weakness, exercise intolerance, panting or coughing where routine diagnostic test could not determine the underlying cause.