An echocardiogram is a highly effective, safe technique for diagnosing heart disease in pets. If you think your pet might need an echocardiogram, contact Big Creek Animal Hospital. We are one of the area’s few non-specialty practices to offer this service in-house.
Real-Time Imaging for Accurate Veterinary Diagnostics
An echocardiogram is a non-invasive technique that our veterinarians can use to assess the condition of your pet’s heart. It is the same test and imaging done in people with heart conditions.
An echocardiogram uses high-frequency sound waves to create live images of the inside and outside of the heart, allowing the vet to see what the heart looks like and how it’s functioning in real time. Your vet can see:
- How big the heart is
- The shape of the heart
- How thick the walls of the heart are
- How well the heart is pumping
- Whether there are any abnormal blood flow patterns or possible blood clots
- Whether there are any abnormalities in the pericardium or valves
- Whether any areas of the heart are damaged
To perform an echocardiogram, vets typically hold a probe against the skin overlying your pet’s heart. The probe sends sound waves to the heart, which appear as images on a screen.
Echocardiograms are usually painless and safe to perform on almost any pet. While sedation is not always necessary, your veterinarian may use it to ensure your pet is still for the duration of the procedure. Minimal movement helps your veterinarian get the clearest images. Some patients may also need small areas of chest hair shaved to capture the best images.
Heart Disease and Echocardiograms
Heart disease is a serious condition in dogs and cats. Factors like age, breed and diet can affect your pet’s chance of developing heart disease. An echocardiogram provides more insight into your pet’s condition, helping us determine the best treatment options.
We recommend echocardiograms for patients with a heart murmur, arrhythmia or suspicion of heart disease. If your pet displays any of the following symptoms, scheduling an echocardiogram could help identify whether a heart issue is causing the problem:
- Difficulty breathing
- Loss of appetite
- Weight loss
- Bluish tinge to skin or gums
- Heart murmur
- Fainting or sudden collapse
- Hind leg paralysis in cats
Illnesses Echocardiograms Can Diagnose and Identify
Echocardiograms can be especially useful when detecting heart problems. Abnormalities in the motion of the heart valves, blood flow through the heart, chamber size, and contractions of the heart muscle can be assessed for abnormalities with a high degree of accuracy. Assessing the heart as it beats is crucial for treating and diagnosing specific heart diseases.
- Cardiac birth defects
- Diseases of the heart valves
- Heart muscle diseases (cardiomyopathy)
- Fluid around the heart (pericardial effusion)
- Cardiac tumors
- Certain types of heartworm infections
Schedule a Pet Echocardiogram with Big Creek Animal Hospital
In the Cumming area, it can take months to get your pet an appointment with a cardiology specialist. While we are not boarded cardiologist specialists at Big Creek Animal Hospital, we have received special echocardiogram training to expand access to this essential service. We often consult with cardiologists to review cases.
Contact us today to Make An Appointment or learn more about our services.
What Our Clients Are Saying
We had a great experience at Big Creek Animal Hospital. Unfortunately, our 12 yr old dog Bella is not doing well. She is going into heart failure. We came to Big Creek for an echocardiogram to confirm what she had. Dr. Estes was so compassionate, caring and informative! It makes a huge difference having a doctor like that when you are getting such bad news. The office staff were so sweet and caring as well. They made every effort to make Bella comfortable and to comfort me. I also appreciated that they only charged me for what I had asked to be done and no extra charges were tacked onto our bill. Thank you Big Creek and Dr. Estes for being so great during this difficult time!
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