The heart of your pet’s health
Heart disease is common among pets, especially as they become older. That’s why routine wellness checks are important—and why we offer the services of a specialist in veterinary cardiology.
If we detect an abnormal heart rhythm or blood flow when we listen to your pet’s heart, or if your pet has symptoms like coughing, labored breathing, lethargy or weakness, tests such as an electrocardiogram (EKG) or echocardiogram can often give us more information to make a diagnosis. Cecilia Helinsky, DVM, a veterinary cardiologist, regularly visits our clinic to perform these diagnostic tests and treat our patients.
Heart problems in pets include:
- Chronic valvular disease
- Congestive heart failure
- Dilated cardiomyopathy
- Feline cardiomyopathy
- Heart murmurs
What to expect
We may recommend specialized testing in conjunction with X-rays, blood tests and other diagnostic tools.
An electrocardiogram is a painless, non-invasive technology that monitors your pet’s heart rhythm and electrical impulses. We attach a series of electrodes to your pet’s chest. The EKG records your pet’s heartbeats on a graph, which we can review to pinpoint abnormalities. The test takes only a few minutes and requires no sedation, so your pet can go home afterward.
An echocardiogram is an ultrasound of the heart. This painless, non-invasive technology uses sound waves to generate a three-dimensional image that lets us see inside the heart to evaluate the valves and other heart structures. For this test, we may shave a portion of the coat on your pet’s chest. We will rub a wand covered with conductive gel over the area we want to examine. The digital image appears on the monitor as we move the wand and is also stored to memory for later review.
Based on test findings, we will recommend a treatment protocol for your pet’s particular problem. Once your pet has been diagnosed with a cardiac condition, it is best to have him or her re-evaluated regularly—usually every three to six months. We will also teach you what to look for in case your pet experiences a sudden worsening of his or her condition. If you recognize signs of a cardiac crisis, call our office immediately. If our office is not open, please take your pet to the nearest 24-hour emergency facility.
24-hour veterinary emergency facilities
Veterinary Specialty and Emergency Center (VSEC)
301 Veterans Hwy., Levittown, Pa.; 215-750-7884
1114 S. Front St., Philadelphia, Pa. 267-800-1950
Center for Animal Referral and Emergency Services
2010 Cabot Blvd. West, Langhorne, Pa.; 215-750-2774