Echocardiography, also called an echo test or heart ultrasound, is a test that takes “moving pictures” of the heart with sound waves. Echocardiography can include two-dimensional, three-dimensional and doppler analysis of the movement of the heart and the blood as it flows through the heart.
Echocardiography is utilized to evaluate the heart of veterinary patients with heart murmurs, cardiac arrhythmias, cardiac enlargement on radiographs of the chest, syncopal (fainting) episodes or other signs suggestive of cardiovascular disease. Echocardiography is frequently used to diagnose cardiac conditions and monitor a patient’s response to care.
An echo can identify irregularities associated with the valves of the heart, muscle of the heart wall, the pericardium (the sack surrounding the heart), tumors within or surrounding the heart and the heart base as well as abnormalities in blood flow.
Typically, in veterinary medicine, we perform transthoracic echocardiography. It is no invasive and similar to an abdominal ultrasound in being pain free and non-invasive. The patients do not need to be sedated or anesthetized, they are in a quiet, darkened room with one to two technicians that are responsible for assisting your pet on to a padded table. They will continue to assist your pet throughout the procedure. A small area of your pets hair coat will be cut on the right side of their chest to allow adequate contact with the pets chest wall and the ultrasound probe. The procedure takes 20-30 minutes. Echocardiogram appointments will take an hour to an hour and a half .
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