Cardiology

The cardiology department focuses on diagnosing, treating, and managing diseases of the
cardiovascular system (heart and blood vessels). Our cardiologists are dedicated to providing treatment options for pets with cardiac conditions with the aim of maintaining comfort and quality of life for as long as possible.

About our department:

Common cardiovascular conditions in dogs and cats include:

  • Structural abnormalities affecting the heart muscle or valves

  • Congenital (born with) abnormalities such as a patent ductus arteriosus (PDA), ventricular septal defect (VSD), pulmonic stenosis (PS) or subaortic stenosis (SAS)

  • Hypertension (high blood pressure) syndromes

  • Arrhythmias (disorders of the conduction system of the heart)

  • Heart failure

Diagnosis of cardiovascular disease often involves the use of specialized equipment to image the heart in motion, measure the chambers of the heart and its function, and map the electrical activity in the heart.

 

Diagnostic tests that may be recommended for your pet include:

  • Echocardiography (ultrasound of the heart)

  • Electrocardiography (analysis of electrical activity in the heart and heart rhythm)

  • Blood pressure measurement

  • Radiography

 

Minimally Invasive
Interventional Cardiology:

Our interventional cardiology team uses a minimally invasive approach to correcting congenital or acquired heart defects in dogs and cats. This allows us to avoid traditional "open" surgical approaches, which means much less pain and risk than traditional surgery.

 

In these procedures, we access the heart by driving special guidewires and catheters through peripheral blood vessels that lead to the heart, which allows for therapeutic interventions including devices to be implanted or narrowed heart valves to be dilated.

 

Real-time x-ray (fluoroscopy)  aids in the visualization of the beating heart and catheter manipulation during these procedures. Additionally, non-invasive 3-dimensional transesophageal cardiac ultrasound is also frequently used to guide interventional therapies. 

Commonly performed procedures:

  • patent ductus arteriosus (PDA) occlusion

  • balloon valvuloplasty for severely narrowed heart valves (e.g. pulmonic stenosis)

  • pacemaker implantation

These minimally invasive cardiac procedures are performed by our board-certified cardiologists, working in tandem with a team of highly trained support staff as well as board-certified anesthesiologists. 

Availability and referrals:

Summit’s cardiology department sees patients 7 days per week and is available for direct referral of sick patients for consultation. Pets experiencing truly emergent symptoms are admitted through our ER with in-house cardiology support as indicated.