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Why does my pet need a cardiac work up?

If during the course of your pet’s examination, a heart murmur or irregularity of the heart was heard, further diagnostics are needed.  Since it is impossible to determine the condition of your pet’s heart by listening alone, the following cardiac work up is recommended.  These tests will help the doctor determine the nature of the abnormality and what type of treatment is best for your pet to increase their quality of life.

Included in a cardiac consultation:

  • Blood Pressure
  • ECG
  • Echocardiogram (Cardiac Ultrasound)
  • Radiographs (X-Rays)
  • Board Certified Cardiac Specialist Evaluation of X-Rays, ECG, & Echocardiogram

 

Symptoms of Heart Disease May Include:

  • Coughing
  • Trouble Breathing
  • Exercise Intolerance
  • Abnormal Heart Rhythm
  • Murmur
  • Heart Enlargement or Fluid Build- Up
  • Weak Pulse
  • Collapse or Cyanosis

 

What is an Echocardiogram?

Echocardiograms are an invaluable tools that give our veterinarians important information about the function and structure of your pet’s heart. This  vital diagnostic tool allows us to detect and prevent heart issues that could otherwise become serious life-threatening issues. It is a safe and effective way to ensure that your pet’s heart is in good shape.  Echocardiograms enable us to evaluate chamber sizes, myocardial function, pericardial effusions, potential valvular lesions, and to differentiate congenital heart diseases.

Remember, our pets can be vulnerable to heart problems in the same way that humans can, so echocardiograms make up an important aspect of the care they receive at our hospital.

 

What to expect during an Echocardiogram?
If your dog or cat needs an echocardiogram, your veterinarian is concerned and wants to make sure that your pet’s heart is functioning properly. Echocardiography, or cardiac ultrasound, is the gold standard of veterinary diagnostic cardiology. Sound waves from the transducer interact with tissues in the body and are reflected back to the transducer creating images of the heart on a monitor. This method allows a non-invasive visualization of the heart muscle and valves.

Your pet will spend a few hours with us in the hospital. Not all pets need sedation, but he/she will need to lay on his/her side for about 45 minutes. Many pets do not tolerate this and, may need a little something to take the edge off.

A small square of fur over the heart, on both sides of the chest, will be shaved to facilitate better image quality. Your pet will lie on his/her side on a specially designed table. A technician will help comfort your pet while the doctor obtains the necessary images of the heart.

After the ultrasound is complete, radiographs of the chest, blood pressure and an electrocardiogram will be obtained as part of the cardiac work-up. All images are forwarded to a cardiologist for review and final recommendations.

If you would like to schedule a cardiac consultation, please call (410) 527-0800.