The Cardiology Service diagnoses and treats diseases of the heart. Dogs most commonly have diseases of the heart valves, and occasionally the heart muscle itself. Cats may develop disease of the heart muscle. Both dogs and cats can develop congestive heart failure, characterized by abnormal fluid accumulation and difficulty breathing. Abnormal heart rhythms can also develop in dogs and cats.
Pets diagnosed and treated with heart medications can lead a more comfortable and longer life, with control of coughing or breathing difficulty. After a detailed history and physical examination, chest radiographs (Xrays), an echocardiogram (cardiac ultrasound), an electrocardiogram (ECG), or blood pressure measurement may be recommended. Follow-up appointments are often necessary to monitor the effects of the drugs (through chest radiographs, blood work, or ECG).
A Cardiologist should be consulted for the diagnosis and management plan of pets with cardiac disease. Long-term care of the cardiac patient taking multiple cardiac drugs should be performed by the family veterinarian and Cardiologist working together.