Our hospital offers Echocardiography and electrocardiogram as one of our many Cardiology Services. An echocardiogram is an ultrasound (sonogram) exam of the heart. Many times both radiographs (X-rays) and ultrasound of the heart are recommended for best evaluation of heart disease. X-rays show the size, shape and position of the heart and the ultrasound allows your veterinarian to see the internal structure and function of the heart. Echocardiography is the gold standard of diagnostics in veterinary cardiology. Sound waves are directed into the body using a probe. These sound waves then interact with the tissues in the body. Some of the sound waves are reflected back to the probe. By analyzing these reflected sound waves, the ultrasound machine is able to create images of the heart that are then displayed on the monitor. This allows non-invasive visualization of the heart muscle, the heart valves, and the great arteries. Echocardiography also allows us to visualize and measure the manner and speed which blood flow moves through the heart, and whether pericardial effusion (fluid within the cardiac sac) exists.
The electrocardiography (ECG or EKG) is used to document the electrical activity of the heart. This allows diagnosis of abnormal cardiac rhythms (arrhythmias) in dogs and cats. If an ECG has been performed on your pet by your primary veterinarian, please bring a copy with you to your visit. If an ECG needs to be performed in the hospital, we can do that at the same time as your appointment. The ECG may be performed if an arrhythmia is present or suspected based on the pet's history, physical exam or echocardiogram.