Cardiology Services

Why should my pet see a cardiologist?

Cancer TreatmentA veterinary cardiologist is a specialist who has additional training and has been Board Certified by the College of Veterinary Internal Medicine. A cardiologist can help you determine what the best diagnostics and therapeutic recommendations are for your pet. Even if you feel disinclined to pursue extensive treatment, it is often most helpful to have an initial consult to obtain as much information as possible to make informed decisions. Dr. Laste has been in clinical practice for 30 years (26 as a cardiologist). She is very practically oriented, sensitive to economic factors and absolutely focused on patients having a low stress experience in the hospital.

Echocardiograms: An echocardiogram is an ultrasound of the heart which allows visualization of all areas of the heart and an identification of heart disease. The test is minimally invasive and in most cases does not require sedation. We prefer for you to stay with your pet for the echocardiogram so we can discuss findings and help keep everyone as calm and comfortable as possible. An echocardiogram is generally recommended for the following reasons:

  • A new or worsening heart murmur
  • An arrhythmia (abnormal heart rhythm)
  • Exercise intolerance
  • Collapsing episodes
  • Breed predisposition (Cavalier King Charles Spaniels, Boxers, Doberman Pinschers, among others)
  • Heart enlargement

This specialized test is performed by our board-certified cardiologist, Dr. Nancy Laste. A detailed report is written after the evaluation and forwarded to you and your family veterinarian to ensure optimal collaboration of care for your pet.

Digital Radiographs (X-RAYS): Digital radiographs (x-rays) are a useful diagnostic tool that can allow detection of heart enlargement, patterns of lung disease, evaluation for congestive heart failure (fluid in the lungs) and to try to rule-out cancerous processes as part of the medical condition. Cardiac patients who have developed congestive heart failure will typically have follow up x-rays done periodically. More information can be found at on our diagnostic services page.

Holter Monitors: Holter monitors are wearable heart monitors that allow detection of all cardiac rhythms while the patient wears it (most typically 24 hours). Holter monitors allow us to determine if a pet has a silent arrhythmia. In pets with known arrhythmias, we use Holter results to assess the severity of the arrhythmia and potential need for anti arrhythmic therapy. The Holter monitor is a small, digital monitor that is hooked to the patient's chest by attaching five wires. A small amount of tape is placed to help anchor the leads securely and a vest is placed for protection and to hold the monitor. During the time your pet is wearing the monitor their normal life activities including exercising should be replicated. Once the monitor is removed the results are transmitted to an analysis center and they will provide a report back in 24-48 hours. Dr. Laste will look at this report to provide an interpretation for the patient's record and your primary care veterinarian.

Electrocardiograms (ECG): An electrocardiogram is a safe and noninvasive procedure which records electrical activity of the heart. When any irregular heart rhythm is detected on clinical examination, an ECG is recommended. Your pet is placed in a standing or lying position and clips known as electrodes are attached. The ECG machine records the electrical impulses for the cardiologist's interpretation without harm to your pet.