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Doc Sara
Doc Sara, Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 952
Experience:  I am a dog and cat veterinarian with a lifetime of experience in our family veterinary hospital.
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I raise Terriers. I took 3 of them -breeding screens 2 weeks

Customer Question

I raise Bull Terriers. I took 3 of them for pre-breeding screens 2 weeks ago. The male was 9.5 months old, the two females 8 and 9 months. All of their kidney screens came out good. I was told all three of them were deaf and that the two females had heart defects: one had "mild mitral valve thickening with mild mitral valve regurgitation and mild aortic insufficiency" and the other "mild mitral valve dysplasia and mild aortic stenosis". I knew they could all hear for various reasons so I took the male, who's heart checked out fine, out of state to another BAER site and he tested that he could hear perfectly. (I did not take the females as I had planned to spay them anyway because of the heart defects). That vet suggested I get a second opinion on the hearts being as the place I used gave me wrong hearing results. I might add, however, that the BAER results were from the neurology department and the echo results from the cardiology department. So my question is, can echo results be wrong, either by performing the test wrong or being interpreted wrong? I just don't want them spayed if the results are wrong. I'd like this answered by a cardiologist or someone with a background in cardiology if possible.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Dog Veterinary
Expert:  Doc Sara replied 1 year ago.

Hi there - I'm Dr. Sara. I'm a general practitioner (not a cardiologist), so what I'd like to do is give you my opinion, and then I'll "opt out" so that the question is still available to other experts. That way if I've answered your question well enough you won't have to wait any longer, but the question will still be available to anyone with more cardiology experience.

I am skilled in ultrasound examinations of the abdomen and have had some training in echocardiography. An echo is basically gathering measurements from various different places in the heart. While the measurements themselves don't lie if taken correctly, it can be difficult and very operator dependent how accurate the measurements are. In many cases just a slight tilt of the probe in one direction or another can alter the measurement significantly and potentially cause erroneous interpretations.

In most cases if you're dealing with a board certified cardiologist, they are very good at taking their measurements correctly. Having said that, I've seen well trained technicians who can take the measurements perfectly. I myself do NOT do echocardiograms because I don't have the patience or experience to get "just the right" spot for measurements, and thus I'm concerned I may not get the right numbers.

It never hurts to get a second opinion, especially if you think that these girls would be good candidates for breeding based on their breed standards, etc.

Hope this helps!

~Dr. Sara

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thanks so much for giving me your opinion!
Expert:  Doc Sara replied 1 year ago.

Thanks for the update - if my information was helpful to you, please don't forget to kindly give me a rating. Thank you so much and best of luck!!!

~Dr. Sara