The Veterinary Specialty Center of Delaware (VSCD) offers high-quality heart health for pets through a combination of state-of-the-art diagnostics and a cardiac team with advanced veterinary training and specialization in cardiology and pulmonary medicine.
Pet Heart Conditions
Patients are referred to our specialists by their family veterinarians for a wide variety of conditions. Some of the more common include:
- Arrhythmia—An irregular heartbeat is not always something that has to be treated, but it can be an indication of a larger health issue and should be checked by one of our specialists. Symptoms can include:
- Heart beating too fast, too slow, or skipping a beat
- Loss of consciousness
- Congestive heart failure—When the heart becomes too weak to provide blood adequately to all parts of the body, it can result in reduced health to the other internal organs. Some of the causes of congestive heart failure are curable if treated before heart damage occurs. Common symptoms include:
- Tiring easily
- Intermittent coughing, especially at night or during exertion
- Heart valve problems—Whether the pet was born with defects in the heart valves or developed issues over time, the inability of the valves to open and close properly can lead to a variety of conditions. Proper diagnosis can lead to treatment options that restore the pet’s quality of life.
- Systemic hypertension—Similar to humans, pets can have issues with high blood pressure. Some of the causes of high blood pressure in pets are unknown but different diseases and hormonal imbalances can cause the condition, so thorough diagnosis is important to accurate treatment. Some symptoms of high blood pressure can include:
- Visual difficulties
- Blood in the urine
Advanced Veterinary Cardiology Diagnostics
The Veterinary Specialty Center of Delaware is equipped with state-of-the-art cardiac diagnostic equipment, including:
- Blood Pressure Monitoring
- Echocardiogram—Our cardiologists use the non-invasive cardiac ultrasound to view a pet’s heart and examine the condition of the valves, blood vessels, heart muscle, and chambers. An EKG is a non-invasive test that monitors the electrical impulses of a pet's heart and changes those impulses into a series of line tracings on paper. Leads are placed at strategic places on the pet's body. Sometimes small patches of fur need to be shaved in order to establish a good connection to the pet's skin. The EKG prints the impulses as a series of lines called waves. This test helps to diagnose:
- Damage to heart muscle
- Pericarditis–Inflammation of the sac that surrounds the heart
- Angina–Chest pain often due to narrowing of the blood vessels that supply blood to the heart
- Abnormal heart rate
- Skipping heart beats
- Doppler ultrasound—This technology allows us to view the flow of blood in and around the heart in real time.
- Electrocardiography (EKG)—Measuring the electrical activity of the heart gives our veterinarians an indication of any disruptions in the heart rhythms.
Cardiology for Exotic Pets
Contact the Veterinary Specialty Center of Delaware for information on cardiology services for exotic pets.
The Veterinary Specialty Center of Delaware is fortunate to have an excellent cardiac team: