Veterinary cardiologists are specialists in the assessment, diagnosis, and treatment of heart and lung disease in animals. There are currently less than 250 veterinarians that have been certified as a cardiology specialist.
We are fortunate at VSEC to have two of them. Our approach to heart disease is that it is treatable and to do so most effectively, we have developed a progressive cardiology department that offers advanced medical, interventional, and surgical care for animals with heart disease.
Early intervention can make all the difference in length and quality of life. If you observe any of these symptoms in your pet, it may indicate the need for a cardiac evaluation:
- Abdominal distension
- Difficulty breathing
- Exercise intolerance
- Heart murmur
- Persistent coughing
- Poor appetite
- Tongue or gums turning blue
- Weight loss
A thorough physical examination will be performed on any pet referred for a cardiac consultation. If appropriate, diagnostic tests will be administered to determine the exact cause and status of the heart in order to create a treatment plan. They may include one or more of the following:
- Blood pressure evaluation
- Holter monitoring
- Implantable EKG loop recording
- OFA cardiac breed certifications
- Radiography (digital x-rays)
We will work with you and your pet’s primary care veterinarian to devise a plan that is right for your pet and ensure they get the care they need for a long and happy life.
Interventional Cardiology and Interventional Radiology
VSEC cardiologists are very experienced in cardiac intervention and have individually performed hundreds of interventional procedures in our cardiac catheterization lab.
Common interventional cardiac and vascular procedures
- Patent ductus arteriosus (PDA) embolization – with Amplatz ductal occluders (ACDO), vascular plugs and coils
- Pacemaker implantation – for pets with abnormally slow heart rhythms
- Balloon valvuloplasty – for pets with valve abnormalities causing obstruction of blood flow
- Stent placement – for blood vessels, airways or urinary tracts that are constricted, compressed or obstructed
- Cardiac septal defect occlusion
A board-certified cardiology specialist has completed several years of training after veterinary school including an internship, a cardiology residency, and passed rigorous examinations administered through the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine. Only then can they be called a specialist. You will see them referred to as a Diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine (Cardiology).
For more information on the training and credentials of emergency and critical care veterinarians, please visit the ACVIM website.