Advanced Care


Heart problems can occur at any age. They’re often the result of your pet growing older, but can also be the result of a congenital heart defect (a birth condition), abnormalities of the heart valves (valvular heart disease), heartworm, or rhythm disturbances (arrhythmias).

Heart failure occurs when the heart loses its ability to pump blood effectively. Early-stage heart failure will often develop into what’s called “congestive heart failure,” and may display some or all of these symptoms:

• Fluid accumulation in the lungs and/or abdomen.
• Difficulty breathing
• Frequent coughing

Most heart problems can be identified on physical examination, but additional tests are usually required to accurately identify the cause. These tests may include:

• ECGs (electrocardiograms)
• Radiographs (x-rays)
• Ultrasounds

Our medical facilities include the ability to transmit your pet’s ECG or ultrasound, real-time, to a veterinary cardiologist and receive their expert opinion within moments.

When necessary, the doctors at VCA Mission Animal and Bird Hospital will refer you and your pet to a board-certified cardiologist at a nearby specialty hospital.