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Pennard Vets

Echocardiograms for Dogs

Echocardiograms for dogs at Pennard Vets

When your dog 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 dogs

There are two common types of heart disease in dogs:

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    Mitral valve disease is where the mitral valve on the left side of the heart begins to work less efficiently, allowing blood to flow in the wrong direction, causing a murmur and eventually chamber enlargement.
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    Dilated cardiomyopathy is where the chambers of the heart become dilated and are unable to pump the blood out of the heart as effectively.

Dealing with heart failure in dogs

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 dogs begin to show external signs such as:

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    Increased respiratory rate
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    Tiredness or decreased exercise ability
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    Coughing
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    Difficulty breathing
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    Collapse
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    A distended abdomen

It’s important to remember that not all dogs with a murmur will develop heart failure. Those that do often have an enlarged heart.

Treating dogs 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, we may recommend starting treatment to help the heart work more efficiently. This treatment has been shown to increase overall life expectancy and on average can delay the onset of heart failure by approximately 15 months.

We also recommend heart scans for dogs 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 dog involve?

Your dog 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 believe in positive experiences for your pet and use a range of calming products and techniques to make the experience as stress-free as possible.

Who does the heart scan?

At Sevenoaks, 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.

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At Tonbridge, our heart scans are performed by our Chris Maguire MRCVS.

Chris has been scanning hearts for over 20 years. He still enjoys the challenges associated with investigating heart disease in both cats and dogs, and witnessing the positive difference an early diagnosis and treatment can have.

With further qualifications in internal medicine and feline medicine he is passionate about providing a holistic and personalised approach to the care of your pet.

chris maguire

Featured Team Member

Available Practices

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    Sevenoaks
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    Tonbridge
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    Maidstone
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    Allington
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    Borough Green
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    Langley Park
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    West Malling

Within Pennard Vets, we are delighted to be able to offer echocardiogram services at the above branch. 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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What we’re talking about

Pet Health Club

Would you like the peace of mind that you are doing the right thing for your pet?

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    Unlimited Vet and Nurse Consultations
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    Core Vaccinations as recommended for your pet’s age
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    Routine flea and worm control, as recommended by us
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    Unlimited nail clips and anal gland checks as advised
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    Annual senior blood and urine tests plus blood pressure check

Pet Health Club

Would you like the peace of mind that you are doing the right thing for your pet?

  • green check
    Unlimited Vet and Nurse Consultations
  • green check
    Core Vaccinations as recommended for your pet’s age
  • green check
    Routine flea and worm control, as recommended by us
  • green check
    Unlimited nail clips and anal gland checks as advised
  • green check
    Annual senior blood and urine tests plus blood pressure check

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