Many pet owners wonder about the need for such a consultation. In general, people are not aware that human diseases are also found in animals, and heart disease is no exception. Echocardiogram or cardiac ultrasound is one of the most important noninvasive techniques to diagnose, manage or track heart disease.
Two-dimensional cardiac ultrasound (echocardiogram) is an imaging method of exploring the heart, through which sections (slices) of the heart are visualized on a screen. The advantage of this method is that through the sections the dimensions of the 4 heart cavities (left atrium, left ventricle, right atrium, and right ventricle), as well as the large vessels that flow into the heart (inferior vena cava) and leave the heart ( aorta) can be measured.
Also, with the help of its echocardiography, adult worms can be visualized in the form of two parallel hyperechoic bands floating in the lumen of the pulmonary artery, in the right ventricular chamber, and/or in the right atrium. In addition to the possibility of visualizing the parasites at the cardiac level and therefore confirming the diagnosis, cardiac ultrasound brings essential information necessary to stage the disease in order to accurately assess the prognosis and establish the appropriate treatment for the dog.
It should also be mentioned that many clinics do not have the necessary equipment to perform this procedure, but there are veterinary specialists that come to do it with their own ultrasound equipment on an established timetable.
How much does an echocardiogram for a dog cost?
Depending on the place you make it and the dog’s size the average cost for a canine echocardiogram is $300 to $820. Besides this, at some clinics, you may pay an office examination fee of $60 – $110.
The procedure involves the dog being placed in a lateral decubitus position on a special soft table and provided with a hole through which the operator will place the ultrasound probe at the level of the dogs’s heart area. This operation is essential because the interference related to the presence of hair does not allow the recording of correctly evaluable images.
The presence of the owner is extremely important to limit the stress induced to the dog in forced decubitus. His presence provides safety and caresses that are almost always enough to allow a complete echocardiographic examination. It also takes physical help to keep the mouth tight to have a proper recording of images.
This test will help the doctor to evaluate the function and condition of your dog’s heart. It detects diseases, birth defects, tumors as well as fluids around the heart.
The estimated time for this procedure is around 30 to 60 minutes.
The cost of the canine cardiac ultrasound should be included in a doctor’s estimate along with any other relevant information like results, analysis, and diagnosis.
What are the extra costs?
If your dog is calm and agreeable, it will not need to be sedated. However, if the dog needs to be anesthetized for any reason, then additional fees will be applied since that requires more time from veterinarians at clinics.
The costs can increase by more than three times if there are other necessary emergency-based tests. As mentioned above, a local vet would only be able to perform this test several times per month if they do not have the equipment needed for it.
Important things to remember
This test should be prescribed every time the vet hears a “sound” when examining the dog. Unfortunately, this symptom is often underestimated and not investigated, being interpreted as a normal finding.
If you’re bringing your dog in for a health examination, make sure to ask the vet whether they require any special conditions to be met before doing so. Many clinics provide paperwork that helps pet owners prepare beforehand.
If the ultrasound detects any abnormal growths, your dog will have to undergo an invasive procedure called surgical extraction. This is a more expensive option than other treatment options because it requires extra care and attention for your pet’s health.
The procedure won’t be painful, and usually, your pet doesn’t need to take any medication afterward.
The lungs can not be analyzed through an echocardiogram.
How can I save money?
To get an estimate of costs, call a few vets in your area and ask about their charges.