Cardiology Consultations

The initial cardiology consultation is scheduled for one hour. Our cardiologist will review your pet’s medical history. Then he will examine your pet and listen for a heart murmur, abnormal lung sounds and abnormal heart beats. Additional diagnostic tests, may be suggested based upon the initial evaluation. The primary test used to determine the cause of heart murmurs is an ultrasound or “echocardiogram” of the heart. A summary of the findings and treatment plan is sent to your primary vet(s), and you receive a copy as well.


** Procedures performed in the cath lab:
  • Pacemaker implantation
  • Balloon Valvuloplasty for pulmonic stenosis or other stenosis
  • PDA (Patent Ductus Arteriosus) closures
  • Tracheal Stents
  • Stenting urethral stenosis
  • Diagnostic catheterizations
  • Coming soon: Chemoembolizations of tumors

The Echocardiogram

** Echocardiography (cardiac ultrasound):
a state of the art ultrasound machine is used to gather information in various modes: 2- dimensional (2D), M-mode, continous (CW) and pulse wave (PW) Doppler, color flow Doppler and tissue velocity imaging (TVI).

An “echo”, or ultrasound of the heart, is performed during the one hour consultation. It is a non-invasive test that does not cause any pain or discomfort. Unlike abdominal ultrasonography, fasting is not required prior to the visit. You will be present for the procedure as we find our patient’s are less anxious with their owner(s) present. A small amount of fur may be clipped on either side of the chest. Water soluble, non-toxic, gel is applied to the skin to aid in imaging the heart. Except in rare circumstance, your pet will not be sedated for this procedure. The echo provides information on the structure and function of the heart. Abnormalities of the heart muscle, congenital defects, or older age valvular degeneration can lead to abnormal blood flow and leaky heart valves which can be identified with color flow Doppler. The echo images are also used to determine how advanced or serious your pets heart condition is.

The Ecg

** Electrocardiography (ECG or EKG):
10-lead ECG is used to assess the electrical activity of the heart for potential arrhythmias (dysrhythmias).

Abnormal heart beats, an arrhythmia, can cause your pet to not feel well or even faint. Many arrhythmias can be treated with medications or a pacemaker implant. If an abnormal heart rhythm is suspected, your pet may require an ECG. An ECG measures the electrical activity of your pet’s heart. It is necessary to diagnose and classify the type of arrhythmia present and is used by the veterinary cardiologist to make treatment recommendations. It is a simple test where by wires are clipped to your pets skin to record the electrical activity of the heart.

Holter Monitoring

** Holter Monitors:
they are a 24-hour, ambulatory ECG that allow us to diagnose arrhythmias that are intermittent, or that only occur during specific activities, such as exercise. This lightweight device is attached to a harness and worn as an animal goes through its normal daily routine usually at home with you.

24- Hour holter monitoring may be suggested to better define an arrhythmia, or determine how well controlled your pet’s rhythm is controlled on medications. Similar to an ECG, the holter records 24 hrs of your pet’s heart rhythm. This enables the cardiologist to look in closer detail at your pet’s high, low and average heart rate; along with the frequency of arrhythmias, type(s) of beats, and how long that irregular rhythm is sustained. Your pet will wear a comfortable vest with a pouch for the monitor. You will need to keep a diary of your pets activity while wearing the monitor. You can remove the monitor approximately 24 hours later and return it to the office. The tape or SD card is scanned and a cardiology report of the findings along with treatment recommendations will be faxed to your primary care vet.

Event Monitors

Similar to Holter monitors, but has to be activated to record an event when one is noted. We currently have two options for Event monitors: 1) small recorder that stays on up to 4 weeks in a vest, or until an event is recorded. 2) Small device is implanted under the skin and lasts up to 1 year. This allows the potential to assess heart rhythm at any time when recorded (activated) by a remote contoller. This is provided by the gracious people of Medtronic USA and is amazing technology working for your pet.

Blood Pressure

Similiar to people, animals can also suffer from high blood pressure. Blood pressure readings can also be an indicator of other medical conditions. We use a Doppler machine to measure the blood pressure. A blood pressure cuff is placed on your animals paw or tail. We then take three(3) blood pressure readings.

SPO2 Monitoring

SPO2 monitoring is a non-evasive way to measure the percent of oxygen in the blood. It is typically done on pets with difficulty breathing to determine if your pet would benefit from oxygen (02) therapy.

Oxygen Therapy

O2 therapy is used for patient’s experiencing difficulty breathing due to congestive heart failure (fluid in the lungs). The oxygen cage is climate controlled and blankets and water is provide so your pet is comfortable.