Treating issues involving the heart and cardiovascular system

Our cardiology team provides diagnostic and therapeutic services for pets that are affected by a wide-range of heart diseases, including several minimally invasive procedures that are unavailable anywhere else in the state of Georgia.

Our areas of speciality:

  • Heartworm extraction
  • Pacemaker implantation
  • Treatment of atrial fibrillation (AFib)
  • Repair of arteriovenous fistulas (an abnormal connection or passageway between an artery and a vein)

Our cardiology service regularly utilizes the following diagnostic tools to aid in the management of heart and vascular disease in companion animals:

  • Echocardiography, including two-dimensional, M-mode, and Doppler technologies
  • Electrocardiography (ECG)
  • Ambulatory ECG monitoring, including Holter, event, and implantable loop recorder monitoring
  • Angiography and angiocardiography
  • Catheter-based hemodynamic studies

The Cardiology service offers several interventional (catheter-based) procedures for the treatment of both congenital and acquired heart disease. These procedures are performed under general anesthesia utilizing fluoroscopic guidance (real-time X-ray imaging). In most instances, they offer the benefit of less pain, and shorter hospitalization and recovery times as compared to more invasive surgical techniques.


Interventional Procedures

Pacemaker implantation

As in humans, artificial pacemaker therapy is recommended in dogs and cats experiencing symptoms caused by very slow heart rates that are not responsive to medical therapy. Pacemaker devices, which provide a signal that instructs the heart to beat more rapidly, can be implanted via an incision in the neck in all but the smallest of dogs. In very small dogs and cats, placement of these devices may require a more invasive surgical procedure

Canine Duct Occluder device implantation for patent ductus arteriosus

Patent ductus arteriosus (PDA) is the most commonly diagnosed congenital heart disease of dogs. A small implantable device, the Amplatz® Canine Duct Occluder (ACDO), has been developed specifically for use in dogs with PDA. Via a small incision in the inner thigh, this device can be placed across the defect using catheter-based techniques. As with pacemakers, small dogs and cats may require a more invasive surgery.

Balloon valvuloplasty for pulmonic stenosis.

Pulmonic stenosis (PS) is a congenital disease characterized by narrowing of a portion of the heart and when severe, places the affected animal at increased risk for the development of heart failure early in life. A balloon-tipped catheter can be introduced into the heart via an incision in the neck and used to reduce the severity of the defect.

Heartworm extraction

In the most severe cases of heartworm disease, surgical removal of the heartworms may be necessary, often on an emergency basis. This procedure can be performed via an incision in the neck.

Complex congenital cardiac and vascular intervention

Additional minimally invasive interventional procedures are available at UGA for animals that have one or multiple complex congenital heart defects, as well as those animals that require catheter-based techniques for diseases affecting the blood vessels (arteries and veins).

Available clinical trials

Comparison of three vascular closure techniques in dogs undergoing cardiac catheterization

Comparison of Vascular Closure Techniques in Dogs Undergoing Percutaneous Transcatheter Intervention Investigators: Lauren Markovic, DVM, DACVIM (Cardiology faculty) Amanda Coleman, DVM, DACVIM (Cardiology faculty) Arianne Fabella, DVM (Cardiology resident) If interested, please have your primary veterinarian request additional information through…

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