Veterinary Service

Pet Echocardiogram

A heart ultrasound is known as an echocardiogram (or echo). This procedure is one of the least intrusive and most efficient techniques to examine the heart’s structure and observe how it works in real time. We’ll probably schedule an echo if your pet has a heart murmur.

veterinarian taking ultrasound of dog

Echocardiogram at Mill Brook Animal Clinic

What to Expect and How to Prepare
An echocardiogram (heart scan, or “echo” for short) utilizes ultrasound waves to assess the size, shape, function, and efficiency of your pet’s heart. An echo can take anywhere from 10 to 30 minutes, depending on patient size, demeanor, concurrent disease, and exam requirements. Most echo patients receive a mild relaxing medication called butorphanol to facilitate the scan. Rarely do we need to sedate a patient for echocardiography.

The Night Before
Unless you have been instructed otherwise, your pet does NOT need to be fasted for an echo. Some clients may be asked to give a pre-medication the night before or the morning of the scan to reduce any anxiety for your pet.

echocardiogram night before image

The Day of the Procedure
Admission is at 8 am. You will be asked to sign a sedation release form only in case this is needed. Your pet will have three small areas to shave: a window on each side of the chest and one at the junction of the chest and the abdomen. After the scan, we will call you for collection.

day of echocardiogram picture

The Scan Results
The results from the scan will be reported once the images have been reviewed by the specialist. The turnaround time is typically 1-4 business days. Although Dr. Sorbo is a trained sonographer, he is unable to comment on the images at the time of the scan.

scan results image

The diagnostic quality of the echo images is directly tied to the ease of the scanning procedure. If a patient is uneasy with the scanning, this can reduce the sensitivity of the diagnostic outcome, thus limiting the diagnostic quality. In these cases, the doctor will discuss potential contingencies to circumvent these challenges. These contingencies may include rescheduling for a different time, administering relaxing medications, trying again later, or, when a particular diagnosis is expected, accepting a scan of a smaller footprint that will still provide a diagnostic outcome.

Veterinary Services in Arlington, MA

Pet Wellness Visits
Pet Dentistry
Pet Illness Visits

Pet Sedation, Anesthesia, and Surgery

Behavioral Consultations With Dr. Jeffers

Pet Diagnostic Imaging