An echocardiogram is a specialized ultrasound of the heart. It is a view of the heart in motion. Similar to a pregnancy ultrasound where you can see the different parts of the baby’s body and its movement in the womb, the echocardiogram shows movement of the heart. It shows the heart muscles, valves, chamber size, how well the heart contracts (or doesn’t contract) and even blood flow through the heart. An echocardiogram is a step up from a radiograph. Radiology, or x-rays, are a 2D, still image. While x-rays are important and give us a good “big picture” view, echo helps us to understand why the heart is enlarged. It gives us a more complete view.
Heart disease is common in our pets and is often treated with medication similar to that used in human medicine. Echo helps us determine which specific medications are needed and when, in order to be of help to our pets.