The cardiology service at CARE focuses on the diagnosis and treatment of heart disease in dogs and cats. Animals can develop heart disease at any age. Some diseases may be quite mild and only require intermittent monitoring, but others can be quite serious and require medications and frequent monitoring both at home and at our clinic.
To find out how serious a patient’s heart disease is, we often do diagnostic tests that include:
- Echocardiogram – an ultrasound of the heart in which sound waves are used to produce images of the heart to help us assess the flow of blood, movement of valves, and function of the heart muscle.
- Electrocardiogram – a recording of the electrical activity of a patient’s heart. ECGs are important for helping diagnose arrhythmias (heart palpitations) and can give an indication of heart chamber enlargement.
- Blood pressure measurement – as with people, this test is important because high blood pressure can contribute to the progression of heart disease as well as diseases of the eyes, brain, and kidneys.
- Thoracic radiographs (chest x-rays) – a tool to assess the heart’s size and, even more importantly, the effect that the heart is having on the lungs. Patients often visit the cardiology service because of coughs, and radiographs are a critical diagnostic test for assessing the cause and finding the right treatment.
- Blood tests – these assess the function of other organs in the body and evaluate for infections and anemia. Because medications can affect other organs, it is important to make sure that they are functioning well as we treat heart disease.
Our focus is on helping pets maintain a good quality of life. We educate owners about their pet’s disease so that we can work as a team to keep them feeling good and enjoying life.