An Echo is a movie about the heart...
Dr. Striyle shares all that goes into echocardiograms.
What goes into a echocardiogram at 43rd and what does 'sending the images out' mean?
An echo study at 43rd is actually a comprehensive cardiac (heart) work up. We check your pet's blood pressure, run an ECG screen and also perform the echocardiogram (ultrasound of the heart). In this echo, we look at all the valves and check them for leaks. We look at the size and shape of each heart chamber and measure blood flow through the heart. We look at the thickness of the heart walls and look for any irregularities in the heart muscle itself. We also check for tumors in and directly around the heart and look at the space directly around the heart, called the pericardium, for fluid and other abnormalities. We see so much more than can be seen on a radiograph.
What are some signs and symptoms of a cardiovascular condition in my dog?
Signs and symptoms include: Coughing, exercise intolerance, trouble breathing, abdominal distension, a heart murmur in dogs can be found occasionally, collapse and sudden death. Early in some serious heart conditions there are absolutely NO clinical signs. Congestive heart failure in dogs is a serious condition that can be adverted with routine care.
How soon should I bring my dog in if I suspect heart issues?
How will a veterinarian diagnose cardiovascular disease in my dog?
We'll start with a physical exam where, among other things, we listen to your dog's heart and lungs as well as check their pulse quality and mucus membrane color. Depending on the severity of your dog's presenting signs, we often run blood that includes a heart enzyme called a proBNP. We may take chest radiographs to evaluate for fluid in the lungs as well. We run a ECG, check your pet's blood pressure and perform a echocardiogram(ultrasound of the heart).
What kinds of treatments are available for dogs with heart problems?
It really depends on what heart condition your dog has and how severe it is. In some mild cases, all that may be needed is a change in the diet, possibly a supplement. In other cases, a variety of medications are available depending on your dog's specific heart disease. There are also dog foods made to assist in managing heart disease.
Why is early detection and diagnosis of cardiovascular disease in dogs so important?
The sooner the heart disease is detected, the sooner we can start treating it. Or, if the specific medications are not needed right away, we can help with diet and life style changes that can potentially slow the progression (in some instances) of your dog's heart disease. The sooner it's diagnosed, the sooner therapy can be started and the better chance of prolonging not only your dog's life span but also his or hear quality of life as well.
What types of preventive care can help my dog avoid cardiovascular issues?
Just like in people, living an active lifestyle with a healthy diet is the best place to start. Moderate cardiovascular activity for your dog's body type as well as maintaining a healthy weight are also extremely important. Early detection is always preferable so annual to semi-annual checkups with your veterinarian as well as blood testing that routinely checks for heartworm disease and checks the proBNP heart enzyme is also extremely important!
If you think your dog might be at risk for heart disease, call us and let's get you and your pet in for a consult!