Diagnostic Aids Used For Diagnosing Heart Disease
We use these aids to help make an accurate diagnosis of your pet's heart condition.
The simplest and still most valuable diagnostic tool, with a good stethoscope we can listen to the rate and rhythm of heart beats and hear the distinctive sounds made as the valves open and close during the pumping cycle.
The tail is usually the best location, (as good a reason as any to avoid amputating dog’s tails for cosmetic regions). While all cat breeds have the same blood pressure in dogs it depends more upon breed. Blood pressure breed differences can be dramatic. Sighthounds have normally high resting blood pressure, typically 147mmHg over 76mmHg. Toy breeds average 134 over 75 while giant breeds average 121 over 67.
Electrocardiograph - ECG
An ECG effectively measures electrical changes in the heart. Interpreting an ECG gives Grant a good three dimensional understanding of pacemaker, valve and muscle changes.
X-rays are excellent for showing heart enlargements
Ultrasound - Echocardiography
Ultrasound visualises the inside of the heart. We can watch the valves work and can see the thickness of the muscular wall. Ultrasound is central to accurate diagnostics in both cats and dogs.
Blood tests tell us whether your pet is anemic, a cause of an audible heart murmur or whether the kidneys may be failing due to inadequate output from the heart.
A bacterial culture of blood can reveal the microbe responsible for heart valve infection.
Birth Defects - Congenital Heart Disease
Congenital heart defects can be present at birth. All forms are rare. Congenital heart disease is initially diagnosed by our listening to your pet's heart with a stethoscope. Diagnosing the exact form of birth defect requires more sophisticated investigation.