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Heart disease in Cat and Dogs

Our beloved pets deserve optimal health and well-being. Heart disease in pets is both common and many times, well hidden. If your primary care veterinarian suspects heart disease, a timely visit to a veterinary cardiologist could save your pet’s life.

How will I know if my pet has a heart problem?

Most often, the only sign is a heart murmur found on a wellness examination by your veterinarian. Some dogs and cats may exhibit symptoms such as coughing, fainting, developing a weakness, or have their belly swell. Tragically, there may be no outward signs at all until the disease is fairly advanced.

What is a board certified veterinary cardiologist?
Just as in human medicine, veterinarians specialize in a field by completing four years of additional training after veterinary school and passing two sets of rigorous examinations. Seeing a board certified cardiologist means you are giving your pet the highest level of care through accurate diagnosis and ideal treatment.
What is my veterinarian’s role?

As your primary care provider, your veterinarian works closely with the cardiologist to ensure your pet receives the best treatment tailored to the needs of your family. In human medicine, having a specialist and a primary care provider work together significantly improves outcomes and quality of life in patients. This is also true in veterinary medicine.

When should I see a cardiologist?

Any pet with signs of heart disease should be fully evaluated before having anesthesia for procedures such as dental cleanings, spay, neuter or growth removal. Seeing a cardiologist at the earliest sign of heart disease ensures that your pet will have a longer, healthier life
through early and accurate diagnosis.

How is heart disease diagnosed?

Heart disease is diagnosed by a board certified veterinary cardiologist via non-invasive echocardiogram, a state-of-the art pediatric ultrasound
of the heart. At CVCA, we perform this test with the pet owner present to calm the pet and show the family what is going on inside the pet’s heart. The board certified cardiologist performs and interprets the echocardiogram right away, which ensures an accurate diagnosis
before you leave the appointment.

What kind of heart disease do pets get?

Dogs and cats rarely have “heart attacks.” Instead, they get diseases of the valves or heart muscle, which can be present from a young age or develop over time. Pets also can be born with defects of the heart, some of which can be readily repaired with surgery or catheterization.

How is heart disease treated?

The vast majority of heart disease in pets is managed with inexpensive medications, while some heart defects are correctable with surgical or catheterization procedures. Proper treatment regimens and follow-up care can significantly improve the length and quality of life in most patients.

With early intervention and proper care, many pets with heart disease live long, healthy lives as much-loved members of your family.
An established leader and the nation’s largest veterinary cardiology service, CVCA is comprised of a team of board certified veterinary cardiologists, technicians, and assistants who work together with you and your family veterinarian to ensure the best possible care for your pet and service to you. Visit our website for more information on our nine VA/MD locations: www.CVCAVets.com



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