Pre-Adriamycin Cardiac Screening

Pre-Adriamycin (chemotherapy) cardiac screening for dogs

Pre-Adriamycin cardiac screening in dogs is a crucial step before initiating chemotherapy treatment with the drug doxorubicin (Adriamycin). Doxorubicin is an effective chemotherapy medication used to treat various cancers in dogs, including lymphoma, osteosarcoma, and other solid tumors. However, it is known to have potential cardiotoxic effects, meaning it can harm the heart and lead to cardiomyopathy (heart muscle damage) or other cardiac complications. The purpose of pre-Adriamycin cardiac screening is to assess the dog’s baseline cardiac health and identify any pre-existing heart conditions or risk factors that could increase the risk of cardiotoxicity during chemotherapy. Detecting potential cardiac issues beforehand allows veterinarians to make informed decisions about the most appropriate chemotherapy protocol and to take necessary precautions to minimize the risk of heart problems. Here are the typical components of pre-Adriamycin cardiac screening in dogs:

Physical Examination

The veterinarian will perform a thorough physical examination, with a particular focus on the heart and lungs. They will listen for abnormal heart sounds, check for murmurs, and assess the dog’s overall cardiovascular health.


Medical History

Obtaining a detailed medical history is essential. The vet will ask about any past or current cardiac issues, medications the dog is taking, and any signs of exercise intolerance, coughing, or breathing difficulties.


Electrocardiogram (ECG or EKG)

An ECG is a non-invasive test that records the electrical activity of the heart. It helps detect irregular heart rhythms (arrhythmias) and other electrical abnormalities.


Echocardiography (Cardiac Ultrasound)

Echocardiography is a specialized imaging technique that allows the veterinarian to visualize the heart’s structures and function in real-time. It helps assess the heart’s pumping capacity (ejection fraction) and identify any structural abnormalities or signs of early cardiomyopathy.


Blood Pressure Measurement

Monitoring the dog’s blood pressure is essential to evaluate the cardiovascular system’s overall function.


Baseline Bloodwork

Blood tests, including a complete blood count (CBC) and a biochemistry panel, may be performed to assess the dog’s overall health status and check for any potential underlying issues that could affect cardiotoxicity risk. Based on the results of the pre-Adriamycin cardiac screening, the veterinarian can determine the dog’s cardiac health status and evaluate the potential risks and benefits of using Adriamycin in the chemotherapy protocol. If significant cardiac abnormalities or risks are identified, alternative chemotherapy agents may be considered, or the treatment plan may be adjusted to minimize the impact on the heart. Regular monitoring of the dog’s cardiac function during and after the chemotherapy treatment is also essential to detect any early signs of cardiotoxicity and take appropriate actions to protect the heart’s health. This may include adjustments to the chemotherapy dosage or additional medications to mitigate potential cardiotoxic effects.