Expert Care for Pets with Heart and Lung Diseases, Coughing, and Breathing Problems

AMC’s top-ranked team of cardiologists diagnose and treat pets with congenital or acquired heart disease, pets who cough, or have breathing problems. Our team of experts are trained to rapidly diagnose and effectively manage heart failure and many other diseases that develop during the course of a pet’s life.

Compassionate care. Our Cardiology Service has a long and established reputation for excellence in providing compassionate and effective health care. We comprehensively evaluate your pet, explain the best treatment options, and take the time answer all of your questions.

Collaborative care. Our cardiologists partner closely with other specialists at AMC to provide the best possible medical advice and therapy. These experts include internal medicine specialists, radiologists, pathologists, emergency and critical care doctors, surgeons, as well as nurses and assistants. This means you are often getting the benefit of multiple expert opinions. Together, our care providers focus on each pet’s needs, identify the most helpful tests, and use the most advanced procedures.

Research. AMC has a legacy of contributing importantly to medical research in cardiology and searching for ways to improve diagnosis and quality of life. These research programs can be an advantage to certain pets. They make available new scientific information before it is published, can offer promising new therapies through clinical trials, and some reductions in medical costs. Our cardiologists work with experts in veterinary and human medicine across the country and throughout the world to help advance care for heart failure patients.

Teaching. Our cardiologists help train future veterinarians through advanced post graduate programs. They also lead continuing education programs for veterinarians, both within the tristate region and internationally. This education contributes to improve patient care.

Symptoms of Heart or Respiratory Disease

Pets with any of the following symptoms may benefit from cardiology care:

  • Coughing
  • Breathing problems or shortness of breath
  • Heart murmur
  • Heart failure
  • Irregular heartbeat (arrhythmia)
  • Weakness, fainting, or collapse
  • Congenital heart disease (birth disorders)
  • Acquired heart disease
  • Elevated systemic blood pressure (arterial hypertension)
  • Elevated lung blood pressure (pulmonary hypertension)
  • Infectious diseases (such as heart worm disease or bacterial heart infections)

Pets with heart or breathing problems benefit from a consultation:

  • Cardiac consultation generates plans for prevention of heart failure
  • Safe and effective long-term health management of pets with heart disease
  • Improve and maintain quality of life
  • Assess for the risk of anesthesia

Diagnostic Procedures

Non-invasive technologies are used to safely and rapidly evaluate pets with suspected heart or lung disease:

Echocardiography and Doppler echocardiography utilizes sound waves to safely image the heart, its valves, assess blood flow, determine the cause of heart murmurs, assess the strength and health of the heart muscle and its chambers, and detect fluid accumulation and tumors.

  • Radiography (chest x-rays)  provide essential information about the chest and all of its organs
  • Electrocardiography (ECG) and Holter ECG recordings assess the heart rate, rhythm and potential irregularities (arrhythmias)
  • Laboratory blood tests are used to evaluate kidney function, thyroid status and other important parameters
  • Specialized tests indicate both the presence and severity of heart disease. AMC Cardiologists are working with scientists to use and study biochemical tests, such as NT-proBNP, to gain insights about cardiac health

Minimally Invasive and Interventional Procedures

Cardiologists perform pacemaker implantation for dogs and cats whose heart rate is dangerously low.

Certain congenital heart defects can be corrected or improved by interventional procedures, including patent ductus arteriosus (ductal occlusion), congenital pulmonic stenosis (balloon valvuloplasty), and others.

Assessment for Risk of Anesthesia

Many pets who require anesthesia have heart or respiratory conditions. These animals can benefit from a cardiology consultation – it allows us to assess potential risks and work with the surgical team to plan the best and safest methods.