Care Center
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Frequently Asked Questions

Will my pet need to be sedated for the exam or cardiac testing?

In most cases your pet will not need to be anesthetized for the exam. Initial cardiac exams typically include blood work, x-rays, and echocardiography/ultrasound. These do not require sedation and are all very safe. Tests that require sedation and/or anesthesia will be discussed with you in advance, and you will be given instructions on withholding food and water for a period of time before the sedation. For standard x-rays or echocardiography, patients are gently placed on their back on a special examination table. Patients that cannot be briefly supported on their back for chest x-rays for whatever reason will be placed right-side-up. An ultrasound examination takes approximately 10-15 minutes, and x-rays usually take about 5-10 minutes.

If my pet is being treated or congestive heart failure (CHF), is it still safe to vaccinate and use heartworm or flea/tick prevention medication?

Generally, yes. However if your pet is ill or experiencing active heart failure, we will recommend delaying vaccinations until they have stabilized for a month or two before you do so. Vaccinating for rabies is required by law so if you have concerns, please speak with your veterinarian or cardiology specialist. Most boarding and grooming facilities will require proof of Bordetella vaccine. Heartworm preventative is safe and highly recommended for patients being treated for CHF. Do Not Stop administering heartworm preventatives, even for indoor animals. Flea and tick medications are generally safe for patients with congestive heart failure. Ask your veterinarian which brand they recommend for your pet.


Megan McLane, DVM, DACVIM

If you are a veterinarian in need of mobile cardiology sevices, please click here.

Heart problems in animals are common, but they are usually quite different from the heart diseases that we humans get. Your veterinarian has been monitoring your pet's heart since the first time you brought your puppy or kitten in for their first check up! Which makes that doctor uniquely qualified to monitor changes in your best friend's heart. When problems do arise, your vet will advise you on how best to proceed.

As with humans, heart problems in pets can range from the mild, to the serious-but-manageable, to the critical. The key to successfully treating heart disease in pets is accurate, complete diagnosis.

The Care Center offers a complete Cardiology service. The full spectrum of cardiology diagnostics and treatments are performed, including Echocardiography (Color-Flow Doppler, M-Mode, etc), Fluoroscopy, Holter Monitoring, OFA Cardiac Certification, and Pacemaker Implantation.

If some of these treatments sound very extravagant, keep in mind that many of the procedures and drugs currently used in human medicine are based upon animal models, so that the state of veterinary cardiology is highly advanced. Are such advanced procedures necessary for your pet? Answering that question is why your veterinarian would refer you to our Cardiology Department.

If your vet has referred you and your pet to Care Center, it is because of our diagnostic and treatment capabilities. During a consultation with our doctors, recommended diagnostics will be discussed, and treatment options offered. If your pet is placed on medications, periodic rechecks will be scheduled to keep abreast of how your pet is doing, and to allow the specialists and their staff to adjust treatment accordingly.

A few of the diagnostic and treatment procedures we offer include:

  • Fluoroscopy - swallow studies, tracheal collapse, and additional therapeutic uses
  • PDA occlusion
  • Balloon valvuloplasty
  • Pacemaker implantation
  • Diagnostic angiography
  • Diagnostic transesophageal echocardiography
  • 24-hour holter and event monitoring
  • Pericardiocentesis
  • Temporary pacemaker
  • Heartworm extraction


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