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The Davies Veterinary Specialists Building

Veterinary Cardiology Service

Our Veterinary Cardiology expertise is provided by Pedro OliveiraAntonia Mavropoulou and Paul Smith.

This department is part of the clinical services team and sees all cases of congenital and acquired heart, lung and chest disease in dogs and cats where the cause is not obviously cancer (in which case they go to the oncology department) and where the immediate management of the case is not surgical.

Following investigation and diagnosis, those cases requiring surgical management are treated by the soft tissue surgery service. Cases seen include dogs or cats with a heart murmur or arrhythmia (irregular heart rhythm) and animals showing symptoms such as coughing, laboured breathing, exercise intolerance or episodes of collapse/fainting. Some patients are seen under various breed schemes for assessment for heart disease prior to potential breeding.

A leading-edge range of services is provided, including: 

  • Interpretation of thoracic radiographs and electrocardiograms (ECGs) submitted by veterinary colleagues, with advice on management, or prior to referral
  • Echocardiography (cardiac ultrasound) with spectral & colour flow Doppler: state-of-the-art imaging as part of the normal investigation of heart disease along with conventional chest X-rays and ECG recording
  • Holter (24hr ECG) investigation of episodic collapse/weakness and for the diagnosis and monitoring of treatment of arrhythmias
  • Artificial pacemaker treatment for symptomatic bradyarrhythmias (slow heart rate) e.g. complete heart block
  • Drainage of pericardial effusions, sometimes followed by surgical removal of the pericardium
  • Surgical treatment of certain congenital cardiac defects such as patent ductus arteriosus.
  • Bronchoscopic investigation of chronic airway disease and chronic coughing and for removal of inhaled foreign bodies.
  • Many patients are admitted just for the day for investigations, which will often also include blood tests. Sedation will sometimes be required for radiographic investigation but general anaesthesia is only usually needed for procedures such as bronchoscopy. Patients with heart failure or serious arrhythmias requiring close monitoring may need to be admitted for several days.
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    Heart and lung disease may be serious or mild, and thorough investigation is essential before correct advice on treatment can be given. 

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