Veterinary Cardiologists Help Solve Canine and Feline Heart Problems
Just as humans can be afflicted with heart and lung problems, so can our pets, including cats, dogs and other species. Whether involving a person or a pet, a specialist with board certification in cardiology is most qualified to properly diagnose and treat heart ailments. A highly specialized branch of veterinary medicine, veterinary cardiology concentrates on diseases affecting the heart and blood vessels. Due to the close interaction between the heart and lungs, diagnostics for many thoracic and pulmonary diseases are also within the scope of the veterinary cardiologist working closely with the Internal Medicine department.
At Animal Specialty Center, our board certified cardiologists have had years of highly specialized intensive training and experience in the diagnosis and treatment of heart disease. In addition to their expertise, they have access to the hospital's full spectrum of leading edge diagnostic tools. Comprehensive cardiac evaluations include patient histories, physical examinations, auscultation, blood pressure, electrocardiograms (EKG), x-rays, Doppler echocardiograms, angiography, and fluoroscopy. Continued advances in veterinary cardiology are providing new hope for the management of small animal heart disease.
What Is Veterinary Cardiology?
Veterinary Cardiology is the branch of medicine that treats diseases of the canine and feline cardiovascular system, which includes the pet's heart and blood vessels. This encompasses such problems as canine and feline congestive heart failure, hypertension, dilated and hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, and valvular disorders. Because the function of the pet's heart and lungs are interrelated, veterinary cardiologists are also knowledgeable about lung disease as well as diseases of the chest cavity. A board certified veterinary cardiologist is a licensed veterinarian who has obtained intensive, additional training in veterinary cardiology and has been certified by the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine (ACVIM).
While your general practitioner veterinarian can diagnose and treat many health problems, certain diseases and conditions require the care of a doctor who has had specialized, intensive training in veterinary cardiology in order to provide the very best outcome for your pet.
Symptoms of Canine or Feline Heart Problems
€¢ Exercise intolerance
€¢ Shortness of breath or apparent difficulty in breathing (due to fluid in the lungs or chest cavity); abdominal distention due to fluid buildup
€¢ Fast breathing at rest (although don't confuse this with normal panting)
€¢ Fainting spells
€¢ Elevated heart rate
What Can Be Done if My Pet Has A Heart Problem?
Many of the same types of diagnostic tools and treatment options that are used to help keep human heart patients alive and healthy are also available to pets. For example, sophisticated diagnostic options (see box below) can help determine whether heart problems are present and, if so, assess their severity. Depending on your pet's particular problem, cardiac catheterization, angioplasty, pacemaker implantation, and cardiac surgery to repair heart defects have all become relatively commonplace. In addition, many of the medications used in pets are similar to those that are also used in humans.
Will My Regular Veterinarian Still Be Involved?
In most cases, your regular veterinarian will still supervise your pet's veterinary care. In other cases, your veterinary cardiologist or referring doctor may take over the majority of your pet's medical care. It depends on your pet's particular disease and condition.
Did You Know?
According to the AVMA, one out of every 10 dogs and cats has heart disease. Many pets with heart disease are asymptomatic. If you or your referring family veterinarian suspects that your pet may have a heart condition, our Animal Specialty Center cardiologists are here to help. We will fully assess, diagnose and treat your pet, while keeping your family veterinarian fully informed every step of the way. Please call us at 914-457-4000 to speak with us about your pet today.
Jean Paul Petrie, DVM
Diplomate, ACVIM (Cardiology)
Office Hours: Wednesday 730am-12pm