Equine Veterinary Services


Cardiology is one of the key strengths of the R(D)SVS Equine Hospital, with a wealth of experience built up over many years.

Dr’s Karen Blissitt and John Keen examine over 50 new cardiology cases per year primarily to investigate murmurs detected at pre-purchase or other routine examinations and for evaluation of rhythm abnormalities.  The cardiology service works alongside its colleagues in orthopaedics, neurology and respiratory medicine to investigate cases of poor performance and collapse.

Diagnostic techniques

Two-dimensional and Doppler echocardiography

Sophisticated ultrasound technology (E9, Vingmed) is used to assess cardiac size, indices of systolic and diastolic function and the presence of congenital abnormalities.  Colour flow and spectral Doppler echocardiography are exquisitely sensitive techniques for evaluating and assessing the severity of murmurs caused by valvular regurgitation or congenital defects.


3 Dimensional echocardiography (3DE)

We are the only equine hospital in the UK using 3DE to assess horses’ hearts, and this forms part of our ongoing clinical research investigations into improving means of assessing and monitoring cardiac disease in horses and ponies.


Standard, telemetric, exercising and 24 hour electrocardiography (ECG)

Advances in portable ECG monitors allow us to evaluate cardiac rhythm while the horse is relaxing in the stable or while exercising, even at high speed at the gallop.  This enhances the detection of exercise induced arrhythmias, particularly in racehorses but also in other pleasure and competition horses.  We are also able to constantly monitor ECGs in intensive care cases over long periods.


Trans-venous Electro Conversion (TVEC)

We are one of only 2 centres in the UK offering this technically challenging technique which involves placing special catheters into the heart to facilitate conversion of atrial fibrillation to sinus rhythm.