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Cardiology at CARE 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.
  • Holter monitor – a 24-hour monitoring device that is used to evaluate abnormal heart rhythms (arrhythmias) that are sporadic, or only occur during specific activities, such as exercise. This lightweight device is attached to a comfortable vest and worn by your pet at home. The recordings help our cardiologists find the best treatment for your pet.
  • Event monitors and Implantable loop recorders – unlike Holter monitors, these two devices do not record heart rhythm continuously. Instead, they are triggered to record only when an abnormal heart rate, rhythm, or event is detected. Event monitors are small recorders that stay on your pet up to 4 weeks in a vest, or until an event is recorded. Implantable Loop Recorders are small devices implanted under the skin of your pet and last up to 3 months. Heart rhythm is recorded by the owner using a remote controller. The recordings from these devices provide insight to diagnosing your pet’s heart condition.
  • Interventional procedures – Interventional surgeries are minimally invasive procedures, often performed through a blood vessel versus opening a body cavity. CARE has the only veterinary catheter lab in the Greater Charlotte Area. These are the procedures performed in the cath lab by the CARE Cardiology Team:
    • Pacemaker implantation (transvenous) – First in Charlotte
    • Balloon Valvuloplasty for pulmonic stenosis or other stenoses
    • PDA (Patent Ductus Arteriosus) closures
    • Diagnostic catheterizations for pressure assessment
    • Angiographic Studies for complex congenital cardiac defects
    • Heartworm Extraction
  • 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.

Hospital Admit Guide

If your pet is admitted for hospitalization at CARE, please review our Hospital Admit Guide to help answer questions about your pet’s stay.

Our Cardiology Doctors

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