To state that veterinary medicine is a balance between art and science is a cliche; however, it can be seldom more applicable than to equine cardiology. Judgements are usually based on a subjective assessment, often with very limited amounts of objective information. Equine cardiology often involves giving a prognosis for the future exercise capacity, or saftey, of a horse with cardiac disease. There are seldom clear right or wrong answers in these situations. Each case requires judgement based on scientific facts, practical application of the principles derived from them and common sense. However, recent developments, particularly echocardiography, have led to a much greater understanding of cardiac disease, and objective information is now much easily obtained. A thorough understanding of disease, diagnostic techniques and treatment makes it much easier to give a reasoned judgement, upon whioch a professional opinion is based. The aim of this book is to help to provide a basis for these judgements, and to enable practising ves and students feel that cardiology can be an interesting subject for them and not just for specialists.
In this book there is some overlap between chapters in order to allow easy access to all revelent information at a glance. Quick reference to important information has been made as easy as possible by including salient points in tables within the text. More detailed discussions are also provided and, for those with the time and interest for further study, there is an extensive list of further reading.
There are very few long-term follow-up studies of horses with heart disease and many questions remain unanswered. Much of this book is based therefore on the opinion of the author. For some rare conditions, the text is based on a compliation of published information. Opinions will always be based on a blend of personal experience and information derived from publications and outside influence. If this book helps vets to understand cardiology from both viewpoints then it will have achieved it objectives.