Echocardiography (Cardiac Ultrasound)

Echocardiography (Ultrasound of the Heart) with Color-Flow and Spectral Doppler

Echocardiography is a fundamental diagnostic tool in cardiology for both humans and animals. It aids in the evaluation of various heart conditions, assists in diagnosis and treatment planning, and allows for non-invasive monitoring of the heart’s structure and function over time.


The same type of ultrasound machines used in human hospitals is used for echocardiography in veterinary medicine. The ultrasound examination is typically performed with the animal lying comfortably on their side on a specially designed table, allowing the veterinarian or veterinary technician to obtain the necessary images and measurements. Occasionally, a small area may need to be shaved on the side of the chest to allow for optimal imaging.

Echocardiography (ultrasound of the heart) is a non-invasive imaging technique that uses ultrasound to examine the structure and function of a dog’s or cat’s heart. It provides valuable information about the heart’s pumping capacity, chamber sizes, and the movement of its walls.


During an echocardiogram, a transducer (a small hand-held device) is placed against the outside of the patient’s chest. The transducer emits high-frequency sound waves that create echoes as they pass through tissue, such as the heart. These echoes are thenĀ  converted into images that can be seen on a screen, to allow for analysis.

Doppler echocardiography is a specific technique used during the ultrasound, that measures the direction and velocity of blood flow in the heart and blood vessels. This helps in assessing the presence of abnormal blood flow patterns caused by conditions such as leaky heart valves (degenerative valve disease), congenital heart defects (defects present at birth), or other abnormalities in dogs and cats. Doppler echocardiography can also provide valuable information about the pressures within the heart which can help identify conditions such as pulmonary hypertension.