Cardiology deals with diseases of the heart and circulation. There are cardiac diseases that are present from birth (e.g., persisting ductus arteriosus, aortic stenosis, ventricular septal defect) and acquired heart diseases that develop only in the course of life (e.g., valvular heart disease, cardiomyopathies). Cardiac arrhythmias are the result of disturbances in the heart’s impulse conducting system. A distinction is made between primary arrhythmias, the cause of which is in the heart itself, and secondary arrhythmias, which occur as a result of extracardiac disease.
Cardiological investigation seeks to answer the following questions:
- Is heart disease actually present?
- What kind of heart disease is it?
- How serious is the heart disease?
- What is the prognosis?
- What treatment should be given?
- What will it cost the owner?
Early diagnosis and treatment prolong survival on the one hand, but they also improve the patient’s quality of life.
A detailed discussion with the owner about the previous history forms the basis of special cardiological investigation, along with clinical examination of the patient, including auscultation of the heart and lungs (listening with a stethoscope).
Further investigations can include:
- Blood pressure measurement
- Cardiac ultrasound
- ECG and possibly 24-h ECG
- Laboratory tests