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Doppler echocardiography (also known as a heart scan) is a safe, non invasive way of imaging the heart. People are usually familiar with an ultrasound scan of a pregnancy in humans and this is largely the same. The difference being that the direction of blood flow and its velocity can be measured, meaning we can detect abnormalities within the heart and the large blood vessels around it that might be causing your pet to be unwell.

Your dog or cat will typically not receive any sedation to have a heart scan done. Your pet will lie on their side as in the photograph above and we will scan the heart through the chest from underneath. Only very occasionally do we give mild sedation if an animal is very fractious. Sedatives can affect the measurements taken and give rise to misleading results.

We use echocardiography for the investigation of heart murmurs (to find out where the murmur originates from, a murmur being an extra noise other than the normal heart beats), it is also used to investigate the thickness of the heart muscle, the size of the heart chambers and to assess their function, ie. how well the heart is contracting and relaxing.

Various medical treatments are available depending on the condition diagnosed and depending on whether or not your pet has clinical signs of heart disease, which might be coughing, weakness or exercise intolerance.

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Greenmount Vets
72 Gilford Road,
Portadown, Co Armagh,
BT63 5EG
Tel: 028 38 358525/352640