Pre-Anesthesia Cardiac Screening

Pre-anesthesia cardiac screening for dogs

Pre-anesthesia cardiac screening in dogs is an essential step to ensure the safety of the dog during surgical procedures that require anesthesia. Anesthesia can put stress on the cardiovascular system, and dogs with underlying cardiac conditions may be at higher risk of complications. The primary goal of pre-anesthesia cardiac screening is to identify any cardiac abnormalities or conditions that could impact the dog’s ability to handle anesthesia and surgery. Here are some common components of pre-anesthesia cardiac screening in dogs:

Physical Examination

The veterinarian will perform a thorough physical examination, focusing 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 crucial. 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.


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 anesthesia.


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.


Chest X-rays (Thoracic Radiographs)

X-rays of the chest can reveal the size and shape of the heart and assess the presence of any cardiac enlargement or lung 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 diagnose heart diseases, valve abnormalities, and other structural issues.


Blood Pressure Measurement

Monitoring the dog’s blood pressure is essential, especially in senior dogs or those with suspected cardiac problems.


Additional Tests as Needed

Depending on the initial findings and the dog’s clinical status, the veterinarian may recommend additional tests, such as cardiac biomarker tests, to assess the heart’s function further. Based on the results of the pre-anesthesia cardiac screening, the veterinarian will determine if the dog is a suitable candidate for anesthesia. If any cardiac abnormalities or risks are identified, they will adjust the anesthesia protocol and take necessary precautions to minimize the risk of complications during the procedure. In some cases, a consultation with a veterinary cardiologist may be necessary to obtain a more specialized evaluation of the dog’s cardiac health before proceeding with anesthesia.