Echocardiography is one of the most widely used diagnostic tests in cardiology. It is used in the diagnosis, management, and follow-up of patients with any suspected or known heart disease. It can provide information including the size and shape of the heart (internal chamber size), pumping capacity, and diastolic function (how well the heart relaxes). Not only can echocardiogram create ultrasound images of heart structures, but it can also produce accurate assessment of blood flowing through the heart by Doppler echocardiography.  Color Doppler is used to visualize any abnormal communications between the left and right sided of the heart, any leaking of blood through the valves (valvular regurgitation) and estimate how well the valves open. 

Echocardiology is a non-invasive diagnostic tool and therefore easy on the patients.  It is the gold standard diagnostic tool to evaluate common heart conditions, such as heart murmurs, and is used to diagnose underlying conditions such as chronic valvular disease, dilated cardiomyopathy, hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, patent ductus arteriosus, aortic and pulmonic stenosis, heart tumors, pulmonary hypertension, and other cardiac diseases. When dealing with cardiac disease, the sooner the underlying condition is discovered and treated the better the outcome for the patient. 

Dr. Krista Hardy has undergone extensive training in echocardiography and has trained under boarded cardiologists. During an appointment to evaluate for underlying heart disease, Dr. Hardy will evaluate your pet’s medical history, nutrition, perform a thorough physical exam and discuss with you the diagnostic plan for the cardiac evaluation. This typically includes thoracic radiographs, EKG, blood pressure, and echocardiogram. We obtain this information and utilize telemedicine to have the information evaluated by a boarded veterinary cardiologist who will then develop the recommend the best medical protocol to keep your pet’s heart disease controlled.

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