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Our animal hospital routinely performs electrocardiography (ECG or EKG) recordings as part of our veterinary cardiology services. An ECG is readout of the electrical activity of the animal’s heart and gives our cardiologist information on your pet's heart rate, heart rhythm and potential irregularities called arrhythmias. Although the ECG procedure requires that your pet hold very still for a few minutes to obtain the electrical data, it generally does not require sedation. Several clips (called leads) are placed onto your pet's skin at various body points in order to accurately record the information. Our veterinary cardiologist will use this information, together with other testing to determine the nature and severity of your pet's heart disease and create the best possible treatment plan for an arrhythmia.

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Cardiology is the medical specialty dealing with disorders of the heart. Veterinarians specializing in this field are called cardiologists. The field includes diagnosis and treatment of congenital heart diseases, heart failure, and valvular heart disease.

Dogs and cats with heart disease may have symptoms that you may not think are related to the heart, such as lack of appetite, malaise, or fainting spells. Other pets may have no signs and are diagnosed with heart disease when there are abnormal conditions found in a physical examination such as rapid heart rate or a heart murmur.

If your pet has heart disease, it is important to obtain an exact diagnosis so that the proper treatment can be started. At Loomis Basin Veterinary Clinic, we have on-site board-certified cardiologist, Dr. Jon Stack. A veterinary cardiologist has had advanced training in diseases of the cardiovascular system and is the best doctor to provide the diagnosis, treatment, and answers to any questions that you may have.

Symptoms of Canine or Feline Heart Problems

  • Weakness
  • Exercise intolerance
  • Shortness of breath or apparent difficulty in breathing
  • Fast breathing at rest (although don't confuse this with normal panting)
  • Collapse
  • Fainting spells
  • Cough
  • Elevated heart rate

Your Pet's Cardiology Appointment

Although it can be emotionally difficult to learn about your beloved pet's heart disease, it is important for you to know the facts so that you can provide the best treatment possible. Sometimes the diagnosis is much better news than expected. Appointments nearly always consist of a physical exam and an echocardiogram, which is an ultrasound of the heart.

Your veterinarian, veterinary cardiologist, and you will form a team and work together on behalf of your pet. This will ensure that you are able to spend as much quality time as possible with your beloved companion.

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 are available.. In addition, many of the medications used in pets are similar to those that are also used in humans.

Our Cardiology Services

Cardiology Overview
Electrocardiography (ECG)

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