The heart cannot really break, but heart diseases are common in small animals and could be easily overlooked as symptoms are often not readily apparent until more serious stages of heart disease are reached. If undetected or diagnosed late in the course of the disease, cardiac diseases may lead to serious complications. Fortunately, many heart diseases can be managed successfully with an early diagnosis being of great benefit.
Our goal is it to improve the quality of life of your pet independently of the stage of cardiac disease. Our cardiology team consists of two passionate and dedicated board-certified cardiologists and three experienced cardiac vet assistants and is additionally supported by a board-certified criticalist and a veterinarian limited to the practice of anesthesia if needed. After diagnosing your pet’s cardiac disease we will inform you in detail about the diagnosis, treatment options, further management, monitoring at home, and the prognosis of the disease as close collaboration is crucial to us in order to provide optimal service.
Problems that may require a cardiologist:
• Heart murmurs (abnormal heart sounds)
• Arrhythmias (irregular heart beats)
• Shortness of breath, coughing, fainting episodes, weakness, exercise intolerance
• Breed predisposition for certain heart diseases, screening of animals before breeding
• Pre-anesthetic evaluation before surgeries
• And many more …
Our cardiologists will help you to decide which diagnostic tests should be considered if a cardiac disease is suspected to yield maximal information and provide a diagnosis. Many of those examinations (with the exception of advanced diagnostic imaging modalities and TEE) are non-invasive and do not require sedation or general anesthesia. Our very experienced vet assistants will help your animal to stay in the required position to conduct those examinations as quickly and in as relaxed a fashion as possible.
• Echocardiography (2- and 3-dimensionsional, Color Doppler, Tissue Doppler Imaging, Contrast Echocardiography, transthoracic and transesophageal Echocardiography)
• Electrocardiography (ECG) and 24-hour ambulatory Holter-ECG monitoring
• Blood Pressure measurement
• Advanced diagnostic imaging as Angiography, Computed Tomography (CT) or Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)
• Blood tests
Therapeutic options include among others:
• Medical therapy at home or, if indicated, hospitalization with intensive treatment and care for seriously ill patients
• Drainage of fluid out of body cavities (pericardiocentesis, thoracocentesis, abdominocentesis)
• Minimally-invasive catheter interventions
o Closure of Patent Ductus Arteriosus (PDA) with closure device (e.g. ACDO)
o Balloon Valvuloplasty of Pulmonic Stenosis
o Pacemaker implantation for bradyarrhythmias (too slow heart rates)
• Surgical approaches
o If your patient is too small or is not a good candidate for a minimally-invasive catheter approach due to the nature of his disease, we will refer you to our surgical specialists in certain cases for open-chest approaches like surgical ligation of PDAs after careful consideration