Although heart disease is quite rare in horses, we are often asked to investigate abnormal heart rhythms and heart murmurs that have been identified during pre-purchase and/or poor performance examinations.
Often this requires an ECG at rest to record the heart rhythm and echocardiography (Heart scan) to assess the heart structure and function as well as a detailed examination of the heart valves looking for signs of regurgitation or leakage that might be the cause of a heart murmur that might affect the horse’s performance either currently or in future. We can also remotely record heart rhythm during fast exercise to identify any abnormalities in heart rhythm that might affect performance or might put a rider at risk preclude.
Ultrasound scan of a horses’ heart with colour flow Doppler mapping showing a leak through the Mitral valve.
ECG trace of a horse with atrial fibrillation, a performance limiting heart arrhythmia.