Heart and lung disease in animals takes on many various forms. Some of the diseases we see as veterinarians are the same or similar to the diseases humans develop, and are treated very similarly. Other diseases are unique to animals and are managed differently. Signs of heart or lung disease vary; animals often present for weakness or exercise intolerance, shortness of breath or fast breathing at rest, collapse or fainting spells, or cough. Our goals for you as a client are to explain to you what the problem is, how severe it is, what the future typically holds, and what can be done for your pet. In order to give you this information, there is a certain amount of information we will need to obtain by asking about your pet's health history and by performing a physical examination, as well as diagnostic tests. Our goals for treating your pet are high. We want your pet to be comfortable, have his/her clinical signs controlled and most importantly have a good quality of life with you.
A specialist in veterinary cardiology works with heart disease, lung disease, and diseases of the chest. The heart and lungs are intimately related in the chest, and if one is affected, the other is often also affected. Since the body is one integrated organism, a veterinary cardiologist may also need to handle other related internal medicine matters. There are about 100 veterinary cardiologists in the united states. They have the extensive training of your family veterinarian with an additional 3-5 years of intensive training in cardiology. We work closely with your family veterinarian to ensure that you and your pet receive the best of care. Your veterinarian receives a detailed report of all our visits together, so that your records are complete in both locations. Other problems your pet may have are generally referred back to your family veterinarian. We often send you back to your family veterinarian for routine rechecks, but will always want to see you and your pet again if there are problems.
While cardiac conditions are serious and upsetting to pet owners, many heart diseases are manageable on an outpatient basis and allow for a good quality of life. Early diagnosis and effective treatment will increase your pet’s opportunity to live a more normal life.