Below are specialized tests performed to obtain a comprehensive cardiac evaluation. This baseline information leads to a proper diagnosis and the best possible treatment options. Most of these diagnostics can be performed on an out-patient basis, but emergency stabilization and hospitalization is available twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week.

Patient Preparation

Echocardiography, electrocardiography, radiographs and blood pressures do not require general anesthesia and often can be performed without sedatives.
Your pet will lay on their side on a table while our veterinary technical staff provides comfort and support for your pet. These diagnostics are a painless procedure, and in experienced hands is the optimal way to obtain a cardiac diagnosis with minimal stress to your pet.

Cardiology and Technology at NCVRC

Echocardiography

Heart murmurs are often detected on routine physical examination with your family veterinarian, requiring the need for a complete cardiac evaluation including echocardiography. Echocardiography is the term used to describe an ultrasound of the heart. An ultrasound is obtained with harmless sound waves which are reflected back from the heart with the natural changes in tissue density giving a detailed account of the size, shape and function of all the different chambers and valves of the heart, as well as, direction, turbulence and velocity of blood flow. Proper techniques, technological capabilities and expertise are essential for the proper diagnosis and thereby the most beneficial treatment recommendations.

Electrocardiography

Arrhythmias, or abnormal heart beats, are often detected on routine physical examination with your family veterinarian, requiring the need for complete cardiac evaluation including an electrocardiogram. An electrocardiogram (referred to as an EKG or ECG) is the representation of electrical conduction through the heart and is essential for the rhythm diagnosis and treatment of cardiac arrhythmias. Electrocardiography can be obtained in a variety of ways, most commonly during the out-patient examination. If indicated, an electrocardiogram can be obtained in a patients normal surroundings with the use of a 24-hour Holter monitor or an Event recorder. A 24-hour Holter monitor is an electrocardiogram that obtains information over a 24 hour period. The device is worn by the patient and gives a more accurate quantification of arrhythmias on a daily basis. An Event recorder on the other hand is also worn by the patient in the normal surroundings but over the period of week(s), and when clinical signs of an arrhythmia are occurring, the device is activated to capture the pathologic arrhythmia.

Radiographs

Thoracic radiographs (also called x-rays) are essential to evaluate a patient’s lungs, also called the pulmonary system. Radiographs are used to diagnose congestive heart failure, or fluid in the lungs called pulmonary edema. Thoracic radiographs can also be used to asses the size and shape of the heart.

Blood Pressure

Blood pressure is considered the fourth vital sign after temperature, pulse and respiration rate and has been referred to as the silent killer in human medicine. Blood pressure plays a pivotal role in how the heart is able to function. A cardiac physical examination is not complete without a blood pressure.

Cardiology