cardiology is the study of the heart and heart disease which unfortunately is a very common condition in dogs and cats. The simplest start to any investigation is of course the consultation with the vet and your pets history. We would start with listening to the heart with a stethoscope for any signs of a heart murmur which is caused by a leaking heart valve. Not all murmurs are a sign of heart disease as they are a common finding in dogs. If the murmur is causing clinical signs for example coughing or exercise intolerance then further investigation is prudent.
We have various ways to investigate heart and lung disease:
- Blood tests to check for heart damage
- ECG machine to look at the hearts rate and rhythm
- Utrasonography to look at the hearts structure and using colour Doppler technology to check the leaking heart valves.
- Radiography (X-rays) to check the lungs for damage and checking the hearts size and shape.
Heart disease is treatable to an extent although it is easier to deal with if caught in the early stages to maximise life expectancy and quality of life. Each year most dogs and cats have an annual booster vaccination, as part of this we also undertake a full clinical examination which is an ideal time to check for the early signs of heart disease.