Cardiology Services

Focusing on the diagnosis and management of heart disease in cats and dogs.

Like us, our pets can also have heart disease. It’s important that once pet owners see or suspect that their kitty or puppy is sick to contact their veterinarians right away. At Valley Veterinary Services our veterinarians are extremely experienced in treating patients who have heart disease or heart conditions. A visit to our hospital can provide more information on your pet’s condition. Give us a call at 604-858-6560 or email us at

What causes heart disease in pets?

Many environmental and genetic factors can lead to heart disease in pets. Some of the main causes are:

  • Old age, as your pet gets older their health deteriorates
  • Injury or an infection
  • Condition that your kitty/puppy was born with.

What are the symptoms of heart disease in pets?

  • Regularly elevated heart rate
  • Increased respiratory rate – fast breathing
  • Tiring easily
  • Sudden paralysis in hind legs
  • Fainting or collapsing
  • Having a hard time exercising
  • Coughing more than usual especially during exercise or before bedtime
  • Difficulty settling down or pacing before bed

How is heart disease diagnosed in pets?

First, your veterinarian will want to know what symptoms your pet has, the diet of your pet, along with what supplements and medications your pet takes. The veterinarian would also need to know if your pet is on heartworm protection. The doctor will perform a cardiac examination on your pet which begins with listening to their chest. This will be followed by:

  • Blood analysis – this is done to determine the overall health of the kitty or puppy
  • EKG – this procedure measures how fast the heart is beating and can be used to diagnose heart murmurs
  • Chest X-ray – this shows the size and position of the heart
  • An ultrasound also helps to show the size, shape and movement of the heart
  • Heartworm antigen test where blood is tested for heartworm
  • Holter monitor – in some cases a device may be placed on the pet’s chest for a day or two to monitor the heart rhythm and rate.

How is heart disease treated in pets?

Treatment for pets vary based on specific heart problems and how soon it was detected. Veterinarians can recommend any of the following to reduce damage or failure:

  • Activities or exercises to manage weight that don’t put too much pressure on your pet’s heart
  • Medications to correct irregular heartbeat and relax heart muscle
  • Low sodium diet to reduce the build-up of fluids inside your pet
  • Surgery in canine patients to correct torn valve or to insert pacemaker
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