PASE's veterinary cardiology team has undergone advanced training and has extensive experience with a wide variety of critical and complex diseases. Our on-site team will diagnose and treat various heart diseases in pets, including congenital diseases that are present since birth and acquired diseases that develop over time. Many heart conditions are manageable, and those receiving cardiac therapy can do very well with long-term care. We will work closely with both general practice veterinarians and other specialty veterinarians to develop individualized health plans to maximize the quality and length of life for every patient. For this purpose, we offer the following services at PASE:
· Echocardiography: This is an ultrasound of the heart that allows us to noninvasively and non-painfully obtain images of the heart, and represents our fundamental tool to diagnose heart diseases and identify their severity. For this procedure, we will gently restrain your pet on his or her side while we place an imaging probe on the side of the chest. In most cases, sedation is not required. Occasionally, some patients are easily stressed and will not respond to our reassurances despite our best efforts. In these cases, a small amount of light sedation, with your consent, can be given to ease the stress of your pet.
· Electrocardiography (ECG or EKG): This allows us to evaluate irregular heart rhythms and identify where the abnormality is coming from. Similar to an echocardiogram, we will gently restrain your pet on his or her side while small leads are placed on the limbs. Sedation is also generally not necessary.
· Blood pressure: Obtaining blood pressure measurements allow us to identify blood pressures that may be too high (hypertension) or too low (hypotension), both of which may adversely affect the heart. It is measured similarly in people, where a cuff is placed around your pet’s paw and the cuff is gently inflated.
· Radiography (X-rays): X-rays are used in conjunction with the echocardiogram to evaluate the size and shape of the heart. X-rays have the additional advantage of allowing us to evaluate the lungs and blood vessels in the chest, which are not able to be evaluated with an echocardiogram. Most often, this is used to assess for the presence of fluid in the lungs (called congestive heart failure) or for airway diseases, which may represent the underlying cause for coughing or trouble breathing.
· Diagnostic bloodwork: Certain bloodwork may help identify an underlying cause for heart diseases, such as for taurine deficiency (a possible co-finding with diet-associated heart disease) or inflammation in the heart. In many other cases, it is used to assess the health of other organs and for possible side effects of some medications.
Ask your general practice veterinarian about referrals to the PASE cardiology department.