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Regular trips to the veterinarian are essential for early detection of heart disease in dogs as well as to monitor the treatment of an affected dog. A scrupulous examination will help the vet to pick up on any signs of heart-related problems. The vet will listen to your dog's heart with a stethoscope in an attempt to detect any murmurs as well as to assess the heart rate and rhythm. By using x-rays, a vet will be able to spot fluid in the lungs as well as swelling in the heart. Electrocardiograms are capable of recording the electrical activity of the heart and can also be used to analyze rhythm problems. Finally, an ultrasound can make it possible to view the heart while it is in motion—this is the most accurate method of diagnosing heart disease.
Diagnosis is the first step in treatment and your pet's life may depend on it. Once the disease has been identified (hopefully at an early stage) the vet will be able to effectively treat it with an appropriate heart medication.