Comparison of Presumptive Echocardiographic and Definitive Diagnoses of Cardiac Tumors in Dogs

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Echocardiography is used for identification of cardiac tumors and presumptive diagnoses often are made based on the location of identified masses.


To determine the accuracy of echocardiographically based presumptive diagnoses of cardiac tumors when compared with clinicopathologic or histopathologic definitive diagnoses.


A total of 24 client-owned dogs having a cardiac mass on echocardiogram that was subsequently definitively diagnosed by cytology or histopathology.


Retrospective study. A Cardiac Veterinary Database search of animals seen at the University of Tennessee John and Ann Tickle Small Animal Hospital from 2006 to 2012 identified 24 dogs that fit the inclusion criteria.


The presumptive diagnosis of chemodectoma, ectopic thyroid carcinoma, or lymphoma in cases with heart base masses was correct in 7/9 cases. The presumptive diagnosis of hemangiosarcoma in cases with right atrial masses was correct in 4/8 cases. Seven cases had an open diagnosis because of the unusual presentation on echocardiogram (ECG); various neoplasms were diagnosed in these animals, but hemangiosarcoma, chemodectoma, ectopic thyroid carcinoma, and lymphoma accounted for 6 of them. Pericardial effusion was seen in 10/24 cases. ECG abnormalities were seen in 8/24 cases. Survival ranged from <1 to >150 days.

Conclusions and Clinical Importance:

In this retrospective study, the presumptive diagnosis based on echocardiographic tumor location was only moderately accurate. Cardiac tumors that were considered unusual on echocardiogram were nonetheless frequently found to be the common cardiac tumor types seen in dogs.

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