Echocardiography in Dogs

Echo is a heart ultrasound in dogs.

An echocardiogram is an ultrasound of the heart. It's used in veterinary medicine to evaluate the structure and function of the heart and help diagnose and assess cardiac conditions.

What Is Echocardiography in Dogs?

When an ultrasound is done on a dog's chest to evaluate the heart, it is called an echocardiogram. It is a non-invasive test. Generally, the dog is placed on his side, and his chest is lubed up with gel. Then, an ultrasound probe sends out sound waves. They bounce against the tissues inside the chest and return, and then a computer creates a real-time image of the heart.

Most of the time, neither sedation nor general anesthesia is necessary to perform an echocardiogram on a dog, but it may be required if the dog is particularly nervous or aggressive.

An echocardiogram gives a veterinarian highly detailed information about how a dog's heart is formed and how it's functioning. The vet can make highly specific measurements of the heart wall and its four chambers. Blood can be seen moving through the valves, arteries, and veins. Even the blood's direction and velocity can be accurately measured.

When Is an Echocardiogram Performed on a Dog?

Echocardiography is a helpful tool and may be recommended in the following circumstances:

Some general practice veterinarians have echocardiogram capabilities in their clinic, but the test is often referred out to a specialty clinic and a veterinary cardiologist.

An echocardiogram can be a beneficial test done in conjunction with a thorough physical exam, a well-taken history of clinical signs, and other tests like an ECG and chest x-rays.

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