Prevalent symptoms of heart diseases are power loss, cough and/or breathlessness. Comparable with the situation of a human being there are also with our domestic animals inherent and acquired heart diseases. While with big dog races most frequently the dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) with contraction weakness of the heart musculature occurs, we see with small dogs more frequently valve insufficiency of the mitral and/or tricuspid valve.
The deficient closure of the valves leads in case of contraction to a backward-flowing of the blood and therefore to an extension of the atria up to a stasis in the pulmonary and/or body circulation. As a consequence therefore pulmonary edema, thorax effusion or also as cites (abdominal dropsy) occur. With cats we see the hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) relatively frequently, partially as consequence of a thyroid hyper function. The thickening of the heart muscle which thereby occurs constricts the chamber volume and reduces therefore the stroke volume of the heart so that the blood supply of the body can only be ensured by an increase of the heart rate. One complication of the HCM is the aortal thrombosis. In this case blood clots misplace preferentially the blood vessels to the hind legs and stop therefore their blood supply.
The auscultation has the first place in the cardio diagnostics because already when sounding cardio side tones can be determined and located. X- ray, ultrasound (echocardiography), ECG and blood examinations on certain markers (for example Nt-proBNP) in our own laboratory serve as a further diagnosis.
Echocardiography (heart ultrasound incl. Doppler)
In congenital and acquired heart disease is the ultrasound of the heart drug of choice for diagnosis and therapy control. Thus, for the beating heart muscle and valve disease and changes in flow conditions make it visible. Thus, an individual animal can be taken for your heart therapy.
In the diagnosis of congenital and acquired heart diseases come next to the X-ray auscultation, ECG, blood pressure measurement and echocardiography (heart ultrasound) are used.
Throughout the X-ray the heart size and shape, of the lungs can be assessed, including the trachea, the ultrasound examination of the heart provides direct insight into the inner heart. Cardiac walls and shutters, and the blood flow (direction, speed) can be examined to accurately locate a heart disease.
During the examination the patient is laid on a special table and the heart is successively sounded by both bust sides.
Different ultrasonic methods are thereby available:
1. B mode = 2D Method
Hereby the heart is shown two-dimensionally
2. M mode = TM (time motion) mode
Here the gaps of the heart valves and the heart wall that vary by the cardiac movement are shown.
3. Doppler incl. Color-Doppler = PW-/CW-Doppler
With this method the blood streams are examined. Variances can be found in case of valve insufficiencies and stenosis, for example aortic and pulmonary stenosis.
With the Doppler examination the color red corresponds to the blood flow towards the ultrasonic probe, the color blue away from the ultrasonic probe.
With the PW-/CW Doppler the heart action (systole and diastole) in the x-axis and the flow rate in the y-axis are shown. This information is especially used for the diagnostic of stenosis in the field of the heart valves.
The echocardiography therefore provides valuable information about all structures of the heart (chambers, atria, valves) and their function. In addition it allows insights to the contractility of the heart muscle and allows to find potential pericardial diseases (for example pericardial effusion).
ECG ( Electrocardiograph)
Particularly for cardiac arrhythmias, the ECG provides valuable advice on heart conditions.
ECG (Electro Cardio Graph)