Echocardiography, also known as cardiac ultrasound, is the gold standard of diagnostics in veterinary cardiology. The doctors at CVCA perform over 16,000 echocardiograms each year to accurately diagnose heart disease in pets. Sound waves are directed into the body using a transducer, or probe. These sound waves then interact with the tissues in the body. Some of the sound waves are reflected back to the transducer. 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 with blood flow moves through the heart.
CVCA utilizes premium level echocardiography with the latest technology available in human pediatric equipment. The image quality, quantification, and extensive training of our cardiologists allow for quicker, more accurate diagnosis, which can translate to earlier detection and treatment for your patients. We encourage clients to remain with their pets throughout this procedure, which is performed by the cardiologist. This helps to calm the patient, as well as to inform the owner in real time about our findings and what they mean to your pet. The echocardiogram is a noninvasive diagnostic tool with excellent diagnostic capabilities when properly performed.
Patients are not typically shaved for echocardiograms. Alcohol and ultrasound gel are applied to the fur on each side of the chest as the pet lies on his or her side. Many measurements are taken during the procedure and analyzed to give you the results right away so that treatment can be started immediately.