Reasons to perform an equine cardiac examination include performance issues, exercise intolerance and more commonly detection of an arrhythmia (abnormal heart rhythm or rate) or heart murmur on routine examination by a veterinarian. Less commonly, cardiac examinations are requested for horses that have clear signs of heart disease including weakness, lethargy, coughing, subcutaneous edema (skin swelling between the forelimbs), abnormal breathing and diarrhea.
Equine cardiology examinations at the MU VHC are a collaborative approach between our equine internal medicine and cardiology services, consisting of a veterinary cardiologist who specializes in treating animals with heart disease. The exam includes a combination of a physical examination, listening to the heart with a stethoscope, and specific cardiac testing such as ECG monitoring, echocardiography (heart ultrasound) and blood tests for evidence of heart muscle disease. These tests may be normal in a horse at rest; however, our exercising telemetry ECG can detect abnormal heart rhythms that may significantly impact performance of the horse.
Highlights of Service:
- Equipped and staffed to provide the most up-to-date aspects of equine cardiac care
- Advanced diagnostics include 2D Doppler digital echocardiography, continuous radiotelemetry electrocardiography (ECG), exercising ECG and measurement of cardiac troponin I
- Availability of a board-certified veterinary cardiologist for consultations regarding equine heart problems