Heart Scans at Larkmead

July 25, 2023

The heart is one of the most vital organs in the body. However, cardiac problems can be quite common in pets and can significantly impact their overall wellbeing.

Fortunately, advances in veterinary medicine have paved the way for early detection and effective management of heart conditions and here at Larkmead, we are able to offer many investigations in-house without the need for expensive referrals.

Heart disease can manifest in various forms such as heart murmurs, congestive heart failure and arrhythmias (abnormal heart beat). Detecting these conditions at an early stage allows us to implement appropriate treatments before the condition worsens. Routine check-ups can identify some signs, but they may not be sufficient to detect underlying heart problems. This is where heart scans, also known as echocardiograms or cardiac ultrasounds, play a pivotal role.

Echocardiography is a non-invasive and painless imaging technique used to examine the heart’s structure and function and can sometimes be performed without the need for a general anaesthetic. By using sound waves to create detailed images of the heart, we can assess the heart’s size, shape, and ability to pump blood effectively. Echocardiograms enable early detection of heart diseases, making them a valuable tool in ensuring our pets lead healthy lives.

At Larkmead we invested in a vivid IQ ultrasound scanner which allows us to get much clearer pictures of hearts and abdomens than a regular ultrasound machine.

If your vet suspects any cardiac abnormalities during a routine check-up, they may suggest a heart scan to get a clearer picture of your pet’s heart health.

Routine heart scans are recommended for certain breeds that are predisposed to cardiac issues, such as Boxers, Cavalier King Charles Spaniels, and Maine Coon cats and they can also be recommended for older pets or those displaying symptoms of heart problems such as:

  1. Coughing, especially at night or after exercise.
  2. Breathing difficulties or rapid, shallow breathing.
  3. Fatigue and reduced stamina.
  4. Fainting or collapsing.
  5. Cyanosis (bluish tint to the gums or tongue).
  6. Persistent loss of appetite and weight loss.
  7. Abdominal distension due to fluid retention.

The primary advantage of heart scans is that they allow us to diagnose heart diseases in their early stages, increasing the chances of successful treatment and improved prognosis. With timely intervention, the progression of heart conditions can be slowed down or even halted, helping your pet enjoy a better quality of life for longer.

If you are concerned about your pet’s heart, please let us know as soon as possible so that investigations can be started.

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