< dogscatskidslife, TJ Morgan, veterinary technician, veterinary medicine, consumer, activist, day to day real life events, writer, stories, photographs, photographer, CafePress.

Friday, July 29, 2005

The Heart of the Matter...

People wonder what all I do. Some folks think that all we do in a veterinary hospital is play with the dogs and cats. While there are many rewarding moments, this is far from true. Veterinary medicine can be very challenging and physically demanding work.

One of the things I do is ultrasound pets’ hearts and abdominal organs. Usually, when I see the pet, things can be fairly grave. There are many times when the pet has advanced heart disease or a cancer in one of their organs. These are very stressful and heartbreaking times for the owners.

Echocardiograms (echoes) are ultrasounds of the heart. Echoes give us an inside view of the dynamics and structure of the heart and its function. This is very helpful if a pet is suspected of a cardiac insufficiency of some sort. If the condition is not progressed, the doctors can prescribe medications to help the heart work more efficiently, but only for a while. Heart disease cannot be cured, but there are many times when it can be managed for a period of time with medications. When the pet’s heart starts to decompensate (or fail) there is not much else that we can do medically.

The pictures that I have posted are two separate views of a heart. This heart is having a hard time as there is fluid within the sack surrounding the heart. This pet’s heart has cardiac tamponade which is usually caused by a cancer. A general term for fluid within the pericardial sack is called pericardial effusion.

Preventative medicine is the best thing any pet owner can do. Keeping teeth clean is a must. Dental tartar and gum disease is a major contributor to shortening a pet’s life. The bacteria that is involved in these processes get into the blood stream and affect the heart, kidneys, and liver. Many pets die young due to heart disease, renal failure and liver failure. There are so many pets that we see in the hospital every day that have terrible plaque accumulations, gum disease, and infections. Everyone wants their pet to live a long, healthy and comfortable life, but sometimes we kill them with “kindness”. We over feed our pets, or feed the wrong foods and give them table scraps. Sometimes we fail to see the obvious and don’t take care of the basics like their teeth.



Blogger Linds said...

I haven't seen you in ages. I'm glad you're a vet now, wow times sure has flown by... Keep in touch with me :o)

July 31, 2005 8:07 AM  

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