Diagnostics

Your Pet’s Cardiology Care is Important to Us

A veterinary cardiologist is a specialist in evaluating and diagnosing heart problems in your pet. Just like cardiologists for people, veterinary cardiologists have received years of training in the structure and function of the heart.

By using non-invasive tests to diagnose heart disease, our cardiologists will work with you and your family veterinarian to diagnose and plan a tailored treatment strategy to ensure the best quality of life for your companion.

RMVC works with both you and your family veterinarian to obtain a thorough history with the results from non-invasive testing, such as cardiac ultrasound (echocardiogram), contrast studies, short and long term EKG, and blood pressure, to make an accurate diagnosis. We understand that caring for your loved one is a priority and can be very stressful. Our team is specifically trained in working with animals that have a cardiac history or that are nervous and vulnerable to anxiety. By using the most sophisticated, non-invasive diagnostics available, we are able to reach a diagnosis and treatment plan without causing significant stress to our patients.

Rocky Mountain Veterinary Cardiology (RMVC) provides state-of-the-art diagnostic capabilities and expertise.

Highly-specialized care for the cardiac patient include:

  • Echocardiography (cardiac ultrasound)
  • Electrocardiography
  • Doppler Blood Pressure
  • Wireless Telemetry
  • Holter Monitoring
  • Event Monitoring
  • Digital Radiography
  • In-house Lab

 

Echocardiography
RMVC is equipped with a state-of-the-art cardiac-specific ultrasound machine with Colorflow, spectral, and tissue Doppler capabilities. Echocardiography is the mainstay of cardiac diagnostics as it allows for both structural and functional evaluation of the heart.

Electrocardiography
We perform ECGs when appropriate. Although insensitive for the diagnosis of heart enlargement, the electrocardiogram is the gold standard in arrhythmia (irregular heart beat) diagnosis and management.

Doppler Blood Pressure Measurement
Knowledge of your pet’s blood pressure may affect drug dosage and administration as well as long-term management of select patients with cardiac disease.

Holter Monitoring
Holter monitoring is a form of continuous electrocardiographic (ECG) monitoring that is used in the  diagnosis, treatment, and monitoring of certain arrhythmias. Arrhythmias (abnormal heart rhythms) may present as excessively slow (bradyarrhythmias) or excessively fast (tachyarrhythmias) heart rhythms. Clinical signs may be variable and range from non-symptomatic patients to episodes of weakness or collapse. Many arrhythmias are intermittent and not able to be diagnosed based on short in-hospital ECG, and so a Holter monitor provides us a more accurate tool in diagnosing arrhythmias. Additionally, Holter monitors may be used in patients with known arrhythmias to monitor the effectiveness of arrhythmic control and to make adjustments to medical therapy as needed.

Holter monitors are a non-invasive method for monitoring heart rhythm. The sides of the chest are shaved and small, sticky electrodes are placed on the skin on both sides of the chest. A small battery-operated receiver, which records and saves the rhythm over 24-48 hours, is placed in a small vest and the entire system is encased in the vest. The vast majority of dogs tolerate the vest very well, and normal activity is recommended while wearing the monitor. Exposure to rain or swimming is not recommended while wearing the vest due to the potential damage to electronic components.

Holter monitors provide us with the best, most comprehensive rhythm assessment for your pet, with minimal impact to daily activity and comfort.

Event Monitoring
Ideal for a syncopal (fainting) dog, the event monitor is an ambulatory ECG that houses a continuous loop recorder. The monitor is typically worn for one to two weeks to optimize the probability of capturing an event. When an event occurs the owner depresses a button that captures the ECG at the time of the event.

Digital Radiography (digital x-rays)
Digital x-rays allow for rapid and detailed image acquisition which not only greatly decreases the time and therefore stress associated with taking x-rays but also enables high resolution imaging for more accurate diagnoses.