Cardiac abnormalities (changes in rhythm and heart murmurs) are common in horses, particularly in athletic horses.

Most are not significant and many murmurs in performance horses are simply due to the effect of training and having a large, fit heart.

However, some changes in rhythm and some murmurs are associated with disease and may impact on a horse’s athletic ability or safety for ridden work. Some abnormalities can be progressive and result in severe loss of cardiovascular function.

RVC Equine’s team of specialists are able to carry out comprehensive cardiac investigations, including resting and exercising measurement of cardiac rhythm by telemetric ECG (electrocardiograph) and a detailed assessment of heart structure and movement, including complete evaluation of murmurs, using ultrasonography (echocardiography).

We assess the heart using a full range of echocardiographic techniques, including two-dimensional, M-mode, spectral and colour flow Doppler echocardiography, to give owners and referring vets accurate diagnostic and prognostic information on the horse’s cardiac problem.

We welcome referrals for investigations of murmurs and rhythm changes picked up at pre-purchase examinations, or at routine health checks, in addition to referrals where the cardiac problem is associated with poor performance or illness.

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