Cardiology is the medical specialty dealing with disorders of the heart. Just as with humans, veterinarians specializing in this field are called cardiologists. The field includes diagnosis and treatment of congenital heart diseases, cardiomyopathy (disease of the heart muscle), heart failure, and valvular heart disease (disease of the heart valves).
Dogs and cats with heart disease may have symptoms that you may not think are related to the heart, such as lack of appetite, coughing, exercise intolerance, malaise, or fainting spells. Other pets may have no signs and are diagnosed with heart disease when there are abnormal findings delineated in a physical examination, such as a heart murmur, irregular rhythm, or abnormal heart rate. Many heart abnormalities are secondary to other medical conditions, such as hypertension (high blood pressure) or hyperthyroidism (overactive thyroid) in cats.
If your pet has heart disease, it is important to obtain an exact diagnosis, so that the proper treatment can be initiated. As with most medical abnormalities, a careful medical history and physical exam are of utmost importance. At Carlson Animal Hospital, our veterinarians work collaboratively with a board-certified cardiologist for consultation and echocardiograms (cardiac ultrasound). A veterinary cardiologist has had advanced training in diseases of the cardiovascular system and is the best doctor to provide the specific diagnosis and treatment. Our state-of-the-art intensive care allows oxygen and nebulization therapy, if needed, for more acute life-threatening heart or respiratory diseases.
Your Pet’s Cardiology Appointment
Although it can be disturbing 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. The vast majority of the time, heart disease can be successfully managed medically. Appointments nearly always consist of a thorough history, physical exam, chest X-rays, blood pressure measurement, blood work evaluation, and possibly an echocardiogram.
For more information about cardiological care, please contact us.