Taking One Heartbeat at a Time: Veterinary Cardiology

veterinary cardiology

Some may argue that lots of snuggles, excellent nutrition, or long, leisurely walks are be the most important part of making a pet feel loved. At Berks Animal Emergency & Referral Center, though, we know the fastest way to a pet’s heart is good heart health!

While good pet cardiac care may not make your pet knowingly love you anymore, it is an important part of a long and quality lifetime with your furry friend. Our veterinary cardiology services are here to ensure that you get as much time as possible with your beloved pet.

Pet Heart Health

Animals can have heart issues just like people. While they don’t tend to have as high an incidence of things like heart attack and stroke, a myriad of issues can strike our pet patients.

Some of the more common issues affecting the cardiac health of our dogs and cats include:

  • Congenital heart defects (valve problems, PDA)
  • Heartworm disease
  • Heart valve disease
  • Cardiomyopathy (heart muscle disease)
  • Hypertension
  • Heart arrhythmias
  • Tumors of the cardiovascular system

Pets suffering from heart issues may experience symptoms such as exercise intolerance, heavy breathing at rest, or coughing. As things progress fainting, a blue or gray coloration, lethargy, or abdominal swelling may be apparent.

Sometimes even if a pet isn’t symptomatic for heart problems, a cardiac workup is warranted. Performance animals or those at high risk for genetic issues may be screened prior to anesthesia or other strenuous events. This type of screening can catch trouble before it becomes serious.

Veterinary Cardiology at BAERC

If your pet is having symptoms of heart problems or is at high risk for being affected by one, our veterinary cardiology service is here for you.

Diagnosing the extent and nature of a heart issue is essential for understanding the best treatment and management strategies for an individual patient. This can be accomplished through a few different diagnostic techniques. These may include:

Radiology (X-rays) — Radiographs can tell us a lot of information about the size and shape of the heart as well as the overall health of the lungs. We can also detect fluid accumulation in the lungs on radiographs.

Echocardiography — Ultrasound evaluation allows us to visualize the details of the heart and associated blood vessels. We can look at the valves in real-time, measure wall-thickness, and even watch blood flow via Doppler technology.

Electrocardiography (ECG) — A heart rhythm tracing allows us to gain information about how the heart is functioning and evaluate any arrhythmias.

Sometimes other information such as specialized blood tests or blood pressure monitoring can also give us insight as to how to best help a pet.

Whether a pet has a heart issue that can be cured or must be managed, the more information that we can gain, the better we can do. Our veterinary cardiology services help us to obtain what we need in order to offer your pet the best. Give us a call today if you have questions about how we can best help you and your pet.