AVC's Cardiology Service provides evaluations and treatment to any animal patients who have or are suspected to have heart disease. In addition, breeding animal evaluations are performed in order to screen for heart abnormalities that could otherwise be passed along to future generations. The heart is evaluated through a variety of procedures including auscultation, (listening carefully to the heart with a stethoscope), radiography (x-rays), echocardiography (cardiac ultrasound) and electrocardiogram (ECG/EKG).
Since there are only 10 veterinary cardiologists in Canada, and only one in the 4 Atlantic Provinces (our own Dr. Côté), animal patients and their families are welcomed here from a radius of over 600 km for these services. Most tests can be completed, answers obtained, and a plan decided on within the same day. Our equipment includes a world-class Philips Epiq 7 cardiac ultrasound system for 2D/3D/4D visualization of all hearts (from bird to horse), including both pediatric and adult transesophageal probes; Philips ten lead electrocardiogram; and cardiac monitors (King of Hearts, Reveal) to detect cardiac arrhythmias. Treatment for patients with heart disease may consist of medical therapy (specific medications, special diets) or surgical interventions. Common surgical procedures performed at AVC by the Cardiology Service include PDA occlusion (via Amplatz Canine Ductal Occluder), pacemaker implantation, and pulmonic and subaortic stenosis balloon dilation.
In animals, as in people, the heart is a delicate yet resilient organ. The mission of the Cardiology Service is to provide each and every patient with an accurate assessment and treatment plan, so that a non-cardiac problem is not mistakenly blamed on the heart, and so that true cardiac disorders can be evaluated and treated properly.