Problems with your pet’s breathing or heart can be extremely worrying. However, not all issues are necessarily serious. With prompt and accurate diagnosis and the right treatment, there is every chance that your precious pet will make a complete recovery and go on to live a fulfilling life. One of the best ways to achieve this is to ensure that any animal with suspected cardiology issues is referred for a thorough investigation to obtain a correct diagnosis. For this reason, we offer comprehensive cardiology services at our animal medical center in Deer Valley, Glendale, AZ.
What is cardiology?
Many people think that cardiology is a term used to describe a branch of medicine that only deals with diseases and abnormalities of the heart and associated blood vessels. This isn’t strictly true. Since heart and lung function are interrelated, our team are also knowledgeable about and experienced in disorders related to the respiratory system and chest cavity.
Congestive heart failure
Dilated and hypertrophic cardiomyopathy
Cancers of the cardiovascular or respiratory systems
If your pet is believed to be suffering from a problem related to his heart, respiratory or circulatory system, he may be referred for any of our cardiology services. These encompass the following:
Blood pressure readings
Blood pressure readings are a valuable indicator as to the health and function of your pet’s heart. They refer to how hard your pet’s heart has to work to push blood around the body. If his blood pressure is too high, it is putting extra strain on his arteries that could lead to health problems such as a stroke or heart attack. If blood pressure is too low it can also make your pet unwell, although the condition is less serious.
Our experienced team can take your pet’s blood pressure to check that it falls within normal ranges and isn’t a cause for concern.
Also known as cardiac ultrasounds, echocardiograms use the art of ultrasound in order to view structures inside your pet’s chest cavity. Ultrasounds work by producing sound waves that pass into your pet’s body. Those that bounce back on denser structures are transformed into images of varying shades of grey that create a total picture of what is happening inside your pet.
Echocardiograms are completely non-invasive and painless, and there is no radiation involved so should have no effect on your pet. This extremely valuable tool can tell us important information about things such as the size and shape of the heart, the thickness of its walls, its pumping capability and if there are any abnormalities.
ECG or Electrocardiogram
Not to be confused with an echocardiogram, an ECG is a very simple test that can be used to check the rhythm and electrical activity of your pet’s heart. Small areas of fur will be shaved, and sensors attached to his skin which are used to detect electrical signals transmitted by your pet’s heart each time it beats.
Again, an ECG is non-invasive and shouldn’t be an unpleasant experience for your pet. It is often recommended whenever a heart rhythm problem is suspected, such as a heart murmur. It may be performed in conjunction with other cardiology diagnostic tests.
Chest x-rays are an important diagnostic tool for detecting abnormalities of the respiratory as well as cardiovascular system. They provide images of the bones and the outlines of the heart and lungs and can clearly show whether the structures visible are healthy or require further investigation.
This non-invasive procedure does rely on your pet remaining completely still. Small amounts of radiation are used, but provided your pet doesn’t need x-rays regularly, the procedure is considered very safe. We will then read the results of the x-ray as part of the diagnostic process.
Whilst our cardiology diagnostic services can help us to make very accurate decisions about your pet’s health and treatment, if we feel that he has a more advanced condition that warrants the support of a specialist, we may recommend a referral to a board-certified veterinary cardiologist.
To discover more about our cardiology services, or to make an appointment for your pet, please get in touch with our animal medical center today where our team would be happy to help.