What is echocardiography?

Echocardiography is the use of ultrasound waves to evaluate the internal structures of the heart and the flow of blood through the valves and chambers.

How is an echo different from an x-ray?

While x-rays use a radiograph machine, echos use an ultrasound machine. An x-ray provides information about various parts of the body, while an echo is specific to the heart. It also allows us to watch the movement of how the parts of the heart work and where the blood is going !

What animals should have an echo?

If your pet is diagnosed with a heart murmur, enlarged heart, or an elevated BNP (a new blood test to detect early heart disease) it can benefit from an echo to determine if the murmur is due to significant heart disease. Breeds most commonly at risk for heart disease are:

  • dogs – Cavalier King Charles Spaniels, Dobermans, Boxers
  • cats – Sphynx, Bengals, Maine Coons

These are some of the breeds that should be screened regularly to be able to identify any heart disease as early as possible. Also animals with pre-existing heart disease should be monitored to evaluate progression of their disease.

This service is available from our friends over at Parkway Small Animal and Exotic Hospital. To learn more, visit their website.

 

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