Cardiology

Veterinary Cardiologists Help Solve Canine and Feline Heart Problems

Like humans, dogs and cats can suffer from a variety of problems related to their heart and lungs.

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

  • Weakness
  • Exercise intolerance
  • Shortness of breath or apparent difficulty in breathing (due to fluid in the lungs or chest cavity)
  • Fast breathing at rest (although don't confuse this with normal panting)
  • Collapse
  • Fainting spells
  • Cough
  • 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 referral 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 suspect that your dog or cat has a heart problem, contact the veterinary cardiologists at VCA today.

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