Dr. Edward Cole has had a special interest in veterinary cardiology for over 25 years and has taken 100’s of hours of extra training in canine and feline cardiology . Although the cardiac exam is a cornerstone to a good cardiac evaluation an EKG, thoracic X-rays and especially Echocardiography are invaluable to the diagnoses and treatment of heart disease in dogs and cats. During echocardiography the ultrasound produces sound waves and these reflect off the structures throughout the heart which allows for measurement of the heart muscle thickness and chamber sizes as well as the ability to see the valves of the heart. Special cardiac doppler technology enables veterinarians to see specific blood flow in the heart and through the valves of the heart. Echocardiography is critical to diagnosing and treating the 2 main heart diseases of dogs: Myxomatous Mitral Valve Degeneration (or Chronic Valvular Disease) and Dilated Cardiomyopathy and the 3 most common heart diseases of cats: Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy ( HCM ), Restrictive Cardiomyopathy ( RCM ) , and Dilated Cardiomyopathy. Congenital defects can also be diagnosed with echocardiography including Mitral valve dysplasia, Tricuspid valve dysplasia, Patent ductus arteriosis ( PDA ), Ventricular septal defect ( VSD ), Pulmonic stenosis ( PS ), and Subvalvular aortic stenosis (SAS). Pulmonary hypertension or high blood pressure in the vessels to the lungs can also be diagnosed with echocardiography.
Indications that your pet may need an echocardiogram is a new heart murmur, coughing, being easily tired with activity, or collapsing episodes. Some breeds like Cavalier King Charles Spaniels, Dobermanns and Boxers are at a very increased risk of heart disease. Gulf Gate Animal Hospital offers echocardiography at very reasonable cost. Please call to set up a cardiac consult with Dr. Edward Cole.
To prepare for the echocardiogram, we will shave a small area of your pets hair behind the elbows to allow adequate visualization of the heart. Gel is then placed on the skin and the ultrasound probe place on the skin to record images of the heart. Echocardiography is non-invasive and well-tolerated by most pets and can usually be done without any sedation. We may also recommend chest X-rays and and EKG of your pet. X-rays show the size, external shadow of the heart and changes in the pulmonary vessels and lungs. An Ekg measures the electrical activity of the heart with each beat and can help with the diagnosis of abnormal arrhythmias.