What to Expect
Why has my pet been referred to CVCA?
CVCA is the world’s largest veterinary cardiology service offering access to:
- Board Certified Cardiologists
- Experience – 16,000 cardiac cases seen annually within our practice
- 12 locations in Maryland, Virginia, and Kentucky
- State of the Art Pediatric Echocardiography with the latest software and imaging technology
- A Collaborative Partnership with your Primary Care Veterinarian
Coordination of Urgent and Same day referrals
- Echocardiograms and ECGs performed with you present to comfort your pet and aid in the explanation of your pet’s condition
- Detailed visit summary with diagnosis, treatment plan, prognosis, and follow up care recommendations given at visit
Early, accurate diagnosis and collaboration between cardiologist and primary care veterinarian results in the best outcome for your pet, and peace of mind for you.
What can I expect during a visit?
If you are a new client to our practice, we encourage you to fill out our New Patient Registration Form ahead of time. Otherwise, please arrive to your appointment approximately 10 minutes early to complete this form in our office. If you are a returning client to our practice, we will take a few moments to confirm that your contact information is complete and accurate.
Under most circumstances you will be able to stay with your pet through the entire appointment. Once in the exam room, a blood pressure reading may be performed by the veterinary nurse, depending on age of your pet and his or her current medications. Then, the cardiologist or resident will perform a focused cardiac examination on your pet. After the examination and discussion, an echocardiogram (ultrasound of the heart) will likely be done on your pet. The echocardiogram is not painful and takes from 15-25 minutes in most cases. Due to the expertise of our doctors and the latest level of technology in our machines, the echocardiogram gives us valuable information into the location, type, and severity of heart disease. The procedure involves your pet lying down on a table with you present for comfort. An ultrasound probe is placed on the chest against the heart through a hole in the table. Pets are rarely shaved for the procedure and the fur is wet down with alcohol and ultrasound gel. Very large dogs, or patients with respiratory distress may have the procedure performed standing or sitting if they are more comfortable. In some cases further tests / procedures such as ECG, radiographs, or blood work will be recommended. You may follow your normal routine for medications and feeding that day, unless it has been arranged in advance that your pet will need to be sedated for the procedure (very few require sedation). Also please bring along a list of all medication strengths and dosages or the pill vials. Most of the time, records can be faxed to us from your primary care veterinarian prior to the appointment. If your pet has had any X-rays taken recently, please bring those with you as well, as they cannot be faxed.
The doctor will explain the echocardiogram as it is being performed and then further discuss the findings after the echo is completed. Before you leave, you will be given a printed visit summary with the diagnosis, treatment recommendations, and follow up care. A full report will be forwarded to your family veterinarian the same day. We welcome your progress reports, questions and concerns any time and will maintain an ongoing relationship with your primary care doctor to ensure the best service for you and the best care for your pet.
Can anything be done if my pet has heart disease?
Almost always. An early, accurate diagnosis of your pet’s cardiac condition is the first step toward successful treatment. Veterinary cardiologists offer life saving and life prolonging management of your pet’s cardiac condition via medication and in rarer cases, surgery. Most of the medications used are human drugs and most are available in affordable generic forms. CVCA maintains constant contact with your family veterinarian to ensure optimum care of your pet.
Services offered by CVCA:
- Echocardiography – 2 dimensional, M-mode, continuous and pulse wave Doppler, color flow Doppler and tissue velocity imaging.
- 24 hour ambulatory ECG monitoring
- OFA heart registry certification
- Cardiac Catheterization
- Pacemaker implantation