Comprehensive cardiac physical examinations
An examination of your pet with emphasis on the color of the oral mucous membranes, capillary refill time, jugular pulses, resting heart rate, cardiac rhythm, cardiac auscultation, resting respiratory rate, pulmonary auscultation and character of the femoral arterial pulses.
Thoracic radiographs are also known as chest x-rays. Chest x-rays are an important non-invasive diagnostic tool. They can provide information about the size and shape of the heart and great vessels, the appearance of the pulmonary vasculature and the appearance of the trachea and lungs. Chest x-rays are considered to be the best and most sensitive tool for assessing congestive heart failure. Our office has digital radiography that allows us to optimize your pet’s images after they are taken. We will provide you with a digital copy of your pet’s chest x-rays.
Doppler blood pressure
Measurement of the systemic blood pressure in pets is frequently overlooked in veterinary medicine. High blood pressure is often associated with kidney disease and thyroid disease. Monitoring and management of the systemic blood pressure can prevent injury to the heart and can also be helpful in controlling heart disease in pets with pre-existing cardiovascular disease. This test can be performed without sedation and requires 10 minutes to complete.
This procedure refers to the removal of fluid from the sac around the heart (pericardial effusion). Pericardiocentesis is often an emergency procedure. Because a large needle is directed close to the heart, extensive experience in performing this procedure is necessary to avoid complications. The fur is removed from the right side of the chest and the area is cleaned and sterilized. Pets are provided with a local anesthetic so that they do not feel the needle being directed into the pericardium. The fluid is drained and may be analyzed. Pets that are stable typically go home immediately following this procedure.
This procedure refers to removal of fluid from the abdominal cavity (ascites). Abdominocentesis is most often performed to improve a pets comfort and quality of life. The fur is removed from the abdomen and the area is cleaned and sterilized. A catheter is inserted into the abdomen and the fluid is drained. Samples of the fluid are then submitted to the laboratory for cytology and analysis. Abdominocentesis can be performed in most pets without sedation. Occasionally, a pet may require sedation to allow them to relax.
An ECG is a non-invasive test that evaluates a pet’s cardiac rhythm. This test is appropriate for patients that have an arrhythmia (abnormal cardiac rhythm) or cardiac conduction disturbance. It may also be performed in patients with a history of unexplained weakness or collapse. Our office utilizes state-of-the-art Philips Pagewriter Cardiographs to perform this test. This test can be performed without sedation and requires 5-10 minutes to complete.
An echocardiogram uses ultrasound to “take pictures of the heart.” The ultrasound allows us to visualize the anatomy of the heart, assess the mechanical function of the heart, and evaluate the blood flow through the heart (Doppler). The echo is the gold standard in diagnosing and assessing the severity of heart disease in all species. Our office utilizes two state-of the-art Philips iE-33 imaging systems. These are the same machines that are used in the cardiology departments of large human hospitals. This system has the capability to image in both 2-d and live 3-d. We are the only veterinary hospital in Michigan with this advanced imaging system. An echo is non-invasive and can be most often performed without sedation. This test typically takes 20-40 minutes to complete depending on the complexity of the case.
Holter monitoring (24 hour ECG)
Holter monitoring provides a recording of your pet’s heart rate and rhythm over a 24-hour period. This testing can be especially helpful in diagnosing patients with unexplained weakness or collapsing episodes. Holter monitors may also be used to evaluate the severity of an arrhythmia and to assess the response to treatment. Holter monitoring is performed by attaching a small recording device with 3 leads to your pet. The leads are snapped onto patches on the chest. Some shaving of fur is required to apply the chest patches. This test requires 24 hours and can be completed at home. Care must be taken to ensure that your pet does not remove the Holter monitor before the test is complete.
This procedure refers to removal of fluid from the chest cavity (pleural effusion). Thoracocentesis is often an emergency procedure required to relieve respiratory distress and stabilize a pet’s breathing. The fur is removed from the chest and the area is cleaned and sterilized. A catheter is inserted into the chest and the fluid is drained. Samples of the fluid are then submitted to the laboratory for cytology and analysis. Thoracocentesis can be completed in most pets without sedation. Occasionally, a pet may require sedation to allow them to relax.