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Heart Clinics

Heart Clinics with OFA Certification

Heart Clinics are screening evaluations used to determine if dogs have congenital heart disease (a heart condition they are born with).  But many people also use them to screen for acquired heart disease in certain breeds (a heart condition developed over time).

You can obtain 2 levels of OFA certification for your dog. 

1)  Detection of a heart murmur with a stethoscope (Auscultation) OR
2)  Ultrasound study of the heart (Echocardiogram)

Which study is right for my dog? for my breeding program?

Option 1, listening for a heart murmur has historically been the method of choice for detecting heart disease.  However, not all heart conditions are associated with heart murmurs.  Therefore, with this method alone many dogs with heart disease go undetected.  This obviously can impact the individual patient as their heart disease can’t be addressed appropriately.  But, on a larger scale this can have a huge impact on a breeding program as genetic heart disease can continue to be passed on to offspring.

Option 2, an echocardiogram, is the gold standard for diagnosing heart disease, whether it is congenital or acquired, and is becoming the method of choice for certification by many breeders and individual pet owners.  An echocardiogram is an ultrasound study of the heart that allows the cardiologist to look directly at the heart and determine if heart disease is present, even in the absence of a heart murmur.

Dr. Olson is a board certified veterinary cardiologist and offers both types of OFA heart certification.  For more information on OFA certification visit

A listing of upcoming heart clinics is noted below.  If you would like to make arrangements to host a heart clinic, please contact Dr. Olson at or 612-353-7440 Ext 1