What to expect from a cardiology appointment at UVS
A new patient cardiology consultation at Upstate Veterinary Specialties begins with a referral from the pet’s family veterinarian. This referral typically includes a suspected or diagnosed cardiovascular issue. Before the appointment the written referral and associated medical records including office notes, radiographs and blood work are sent to UVS. At the consultation visit the client and patient are brought into the exam room where the technician discusses the patient’s history and obtains the patient’s vital signs (temperature, respiratory and pulse rate). Then a cardiologist, either Dr. Aaron Wey or Dr. Cassidy Sedacca will discuss the pet’s medical history in more detail with the client. The doctor then performs a thorough physical examination, but with specific focus on the patient’s cardiovascular health. The client’s perspective regarding symptom details, the duration and the severity of the outward signs of the cardiac problem provides valuable insight to the doctor as the exam is performed. Close attention is given to the heart sounds, heart rhythm and pulse quality. The patient’s breathing pattern and lung sounds are evaluated as well.
Most routine cardiac diagnostic testing is performed while the client waits in the lobby. The most common tests performed include echocardiography (ultrasound of the heart), electrocardiography (or ECG which allows the evaluation of the heart rate and rhythm) and chest x-rays (to evaluate the relationship between the heart and lungs). The cardiologist and/or cardiology technician will perform the diagnostic testing necessary. The cardiologist then interprets the ultrasound images, ECG and x-rays to formulate a treatment plan which is discussed in detail with the pet owner.
The treatment plan often includes the institution of new oral medications or the adjustment of current medications. A follow up visit is then usually scheduled depending on the patient’s needs. Occasionally the pet’s cardiac health is complicated by the presence of other medical conditions and therefore the cardiologist must choose a treatment which addresses one condition without exacerbating another condition. Expert knowledge of cardiac disease processes and medications allows veterinary cardiologists like Dr. Wey and Dr. Sedacca to arrive at the best treatment protocol for patients with complicated cardiac diseases.
Cardiologist follow-up, after the consultation
After the cardiology appointment, the cardiologist writes a detailed case summary which is then faxed to the referring veterinarian within 24 hours. Information sharing and partnership with referring veterinarians is essential for good patient care and the management of complex illnesses, such as cardiac diseases.