Like humans, dogs and cats can suffer from a variety of problems related to their heart and lungs. 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 our general practitioner veterinarians 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.
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.
If you suspect that your dog or cat has a heart problem, a veterinary cardiologist may be able to help.
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