While some cardiac conditions may be serious, many heart diseases are manageable on an outpatient basis and allow for a good quality of life. Early diagnosis and effective treatment will increase your pet’s opportunity to live a normal life.
Our cardiologist will work in conjunction with you and your regular veterinarian to provide the comprehensive care your pet needs. Often pets are sent to a board certified veterinary cardiologist when a heart murmur or abnormal rhythm is heard by the family veterinarian. A heart murmur is the sound of turbulent blood flow. Normal blood flow is smooth and virtually silent. A cardiac arrhythmia occurs when the heart beats too fast, too slow, or too irregularly.
Pets that exhibit any of the following symptoms may benefit from a cardiac evaluation:
- Heart murmur
- Shortness of breath or breathing problems
- Chronic cough
- Heart arrhythmia (irregular heart beat)
- Hypertension (high blood pressure)
- Congenital and acquired heart defects or disease
- Fluid accumulation in chest or abdomen
- Exercise intolerance
- Pets at risk for anesthesia may also be evaluated by our cardiologist to assess for complications and surgical risk.
- Heart failure
What to Expect During Your Appointment
Our cardiologist will take your pet’s medical history, review results of testing done by your family veterinarian, and perform a complete physical examination of your pet. She will then discuss appropriate diagnostic steps based on her findings and observations.
Common tests performed by a cardiologist include:
- Echocardiogram (ultrasound of the heart)
- Thoracic radiographs (x-rays)
- 24-hour ambulatory electrocardiograms (Holter monitoring)
- Blood pressure monitoring
Once a diagnosis has been established by our cardiologist,she will work with you to develop a treatment plan for your pet, keeping in mind the goals you have set for your pet and your family.
treatment options may include:
- Prescribed medications for congestive heart failure, abnormally fast heart rhythms, systemic hypertension, pulmonary hypertension
- Minimally-invasive interventional procedures including:
- Transvenous pacemaker implantation
- Patent ductus arteriousus occlusion
- Balloon valvuloplasty of stenotic valve
- Pericardiocentesis and balloon pericardiotomy
- Extraction of heartworms for caval syndrome
Heart Diseases in Cats and Dogs
Dogs and cats get all of the same kind of heart diseases as people, with the exception of coronary artery disease, which is very rare in our companion animals.
Some commonly diagnosed heart conditions in dogs include:
- Dilated cardiomyopathy
- Degenerative mitral valve disease
- Arrhythmogenic right ventricular cardiomyopathy
- Third degree heart block
- Sick sinus syndrome
- Pericardial effusion
- Pulmonary hypertension
congenital cardiac malformations commonly Seen in puppies:
- Patent ductus arteriousus
- Subaortic stenosis
- Pulmonic valve stenosis
- Tricuspid valve dysplasia
- Ventricular septal defect
Common heart diseases of cats:
- Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy
- Unclassified/restrictive cardiomyopathy
- Hypertensive and hyperthyroid cardiomyopathy
For more information or to schedule and appointment, please call 808-735-7735.