What Does an Echocardiogram (Ultrasound of the Heart) Reveal?
The echocardiogram allows the veterinarian to see inside the heart. For moving organs such as the heart, the size, tissue character, and muscle function can be assessed in what is called a “real time” examination that resembles a motion picture. Echocardiograms help to evaluate the structure and function of the heart. This test can be extremely useful for identifying birth defects, heart muscle diseases (cardiomyopathy), and problems with the heart valves. The exam also can be used to identify fluid around the heart (pericardial effusion), cardiac tumors, and heartworm infection. The chest cavity and cranial mediastinum (upper chest cavity) also can be evaluated, though in most cases the lungs cannot be visualized (due to the air in this organ).