Echocardiograms for Cats
Echocardiograms for cats at Pennard Vets
When your cat comes in for their routine health check, it is possible that a heart murmur may be detected. These are common as your pet gets older and may or may not be due to heart disease, something that we will discover through further investigation.
How the heart works
The heart pumps blood around the body to deliver oxygen and nutrients to the tissues.
The heart has four chambers, and each is connected by a valve which opens and closes to control the direction of blood flow. When blood flows in the wrong direction in the heart we hear a heart murmur.
An ultrasound of the heart, known as an echocardiogram, can tell us if the murmur is related to heart disease or not.
Types of heart disease in cats
The most common type of heart disease in cats is hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, where the bottom chamber, the ventricle, on the left side of the heart becomes thickened.
This makes the inside of the chamber smaller.
Over time we can also see changes in the top chamber, the atrium, which can become enlarged. This can predispose cats to forming blood clots.
Dealing with heart failure in cats
The heart is utterly amazing and attempts to cope with disease all on its own.
However, over time this makes it less effective at completing its original job of supplying blood to all the tissues in the body.
The point at which it fails to provide the major organs with a sufficient blood supply is classed as heart failure. At this point cats begin to show external signs such as:
It’s important to remember that not all cats with a murmur will develop heart failure. Those that do often have an enlarged heart.
Treating cats with heart disease
When we discover a heart murmur we perform an echocardiogram to assess whether heart disease is present, and if so how serious it is. Heart disease is staged to help explain the level of severity.
If there is enlargement of the heart or we can see any blood clots, we may recommend starting treatment to decrease the chance of clots forming.
We also recommend heart scans for cats with murmurs prior to any procedure which requires an anaesthetic. This allows us to assess the risk of an anaesthetic and to tailor the procedure to your dog’s individual needs.
What does a heart scan for a cat involve?
Your cat will come into our Sevenoaks branch for a morning or afternoon and go home the same day.
There will be two to three patches of fur clipped on their chest, before they are taken to our quiet scanning room and gently held on their side while the scan is performed.
The ultrasound is normally performed on conscious patients, but we may discuss use of sedation with you if we think it will be beneficial.
We are a feline friendly practice and use a range of calming products and handling techniques to make the experience as stress-free as possible.
Who does the scan?
Our heart scans are performed by our Charlotte Botham MRCVS.
Charlotte joined the team back in 2018 and has worked in a range of our branches, while studying hard to gain her certificate in cardiology. She brings her passion for all things heart-related to work with her every day and enjoys being able to help our patients.
At home she has two pets of her own, a gorgeous cat called Jaffa and a playful cocker spaniel called Willow.
Featured Team Member
Within Pennard Vets, we are delighted to be able to offer echocardiogram services at the above branches. We appreciate that this might mean a journey from your usual site but we can assure you the level of service is just the same and the team will be delighted to look after you.
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