What is Veterinary Cardiology?
Veterinary cardiology is a specialty of veterinary medicine that focuses on diseases of the heart. Both dogs and cats can develop heart disease and it represents one of the most common health conditions affecting older pets.
What is a Board-certified Veterinary Cardiologist? A board certified veterinary cardiologist is a licensed veterinarian who has obtained intensive, additional training in veterinary cardiology. This includes four to five years of post-doctoral training after graduation from veterinary school including a residency in cardiology and two years of extensive examinations. Our cardiologist, Dr. Damon Leeder, is a Diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine within the College of Cardiology (www.acvim.org).
Why does my pet need to see a Board-certified Veterinary Cardiologist? Cardiologists are veterinary specialists that diagnose and treat disease of the heart. Common conditions managed by cardiologists include:
Your pet’s primary care veterinarian can diagnose and treat many health problems. However, certain conditions benefit from the involvement of a specialist with intensive training in cardiology. Additionally, specialists have access to advanced diagnostic tests not readily available to general practitioners. At the Veterinary Emergency and Specialty Center, services offered by our cardiologist include:
What should I expect during the visit with a Board-certified Veterinary Cardiologist? Our cardiologist will first obtain a health history and perform a thorough physical examination. Based on these initial findings additional tests will be discussed. The most common tests performed in pets with heart disease include:
Other tests that may be considered include:
Does my pet need all these tests? Not all pets require multiple tests. The echocardiogram is the most common test and may be the only one required. More complex cases require more additional testing to reach a diagnosis and determine the best therapy. The diagnostic plan is individualized to every patient’s needs and is made in consultation with you and your primary care veterinarian.
What can be done if my pet has a heart problem? A large number of medical treatments are available. Many of the treatments available for humans with heart disease are now available for pets. The recommended tests help determine the best therapy. Some pets do not require any treatment and simply need to be monitored. Others require medications to control their disease. For certain conditions, minimally-invasive procedures may be recommended to treat or cure the disease. Pacemaker implantation or surgical procedures are rarely required.
In order to earn the right to be called a specialist in veterinary surgery, one must become board certified by the American College of Veterinary Surgeons (ACVS).
What is an emergency and critical care specialist?
A board certified specialist in emergency and critical care is a veterinarian who has obtained intensive training in treating life-threatening conditions.
What additional training does an emergency and critical care specialist have? Veterinarians who want to become board certified in emergency and critical care medicine must seek additional training to become a specialist and earn this prestigious credentialing. Specialty status is granted by the American College of Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care (ACVECC). A veterinarian who has received this specialty status will list the initials DACVECC after their name in addition to DVM and may indicate that they are a Diplomate of the ACVECC. The word Diplomate typically means the specialist has achieved the following:
What does an emergency and critical care specialist do? An emergency and critical care specialist provides primary case management or supervision and guidance of emergency doctors in emergency stabilization and intensive management of acutely injured or critically ill patients. Some illnesses require several days of therapy before improvement is noted, so close attention to all aspects of treatment of the disease process and specialized monitoring under the supervision of a critical care specialist provides the best chance for a positive outcome. The critical care specialist acts as the patient’s advocate in identifying all reasonable diagnostic and treatment options, gaining an accurate prognosis, and administering advanced life support. They also facilitate the family’s decision-making process by coordinating consultations and information obtained from the primary care veterinarian, emergency doctor, and other specialists.
What medical conditions can benefit from an Emergency and Critical Care Specialist?
Diagnostics and procedures performed by an Emergency and Critical Care Specialist:
The integration of all the hospitals services is a major advantage for the patient as veterinary medicine continues to become more advanced. The primary care (or referring) veterinarian has a very important role in the care of critical patients by offering their client’s referral to VESC and providing follow-up or long-term care where necessary. We make communication with the client and primary care veterinarian a top priority when their patients are with the critical care service.
A Radiologist (ACVR Diplomate) is a veterinarian who has undergone advanced training and passed the ACVR examinations to become board-certified as a specialist in veterinary radiology or radiation oncology.
What does it mean to be board certified (achieve Diplomate status)?
Veterinarians wishing to become board certified must complete a 2-3 year residency program, meet specific training and caseload requirements, perform research and have their research published.
This process is supervised by current Diplomates in each specialty to ensure consistency in training and adherence to high standards. Once the residency has been completed, the resident must sit for and pass rigorous examinations. Only then does the veterinarian earn the title of Diplomate in that specialty.
Do I need an appointment to see a specialist? Consultations with a specialist are by appointment only. The emergency and critical care services are available 24 hours a day. No appointment is required for ER, but it is recommended that you call before arriving.
How do I make an appointment? Our referral coordinators are available to schedule your appointment and help answer any questions you or your primary care veterinarian may have regarding the referral process. A referral coordinator is available Monday through Friday from 8:00am to 5:00pm. Feel free to call anytime to speak with our referral coordinator. If they are serving another client at the time of your call, please leave a message and they will return your call promptly.
What diognostic services do you offer? The Internal Medicine team will work closely with your primary care veterinarian to diagnose perplexing problems causing illness in your pet. In addition, our entire team of board-certified specialists routinely collaborates on challenging cases to ensure the most comprehensive care for your loved one.
Endoscopy Endoscopy is a procedure which allows the doctor visually exam of any cavity of the by body using an endoscope. Endoscopes are a highly specialized piece of equipment. They are shaped like a long narrow tube. This tube contains a video camera and bright light which allows the doctor to “look inside” your pet in a minimally-invasive way. The endoscope also has channels for small instruments that allow us to collect biopsy or fluid samples or remove foreign objects.
Common uses for endoscopy include:
Endoscopy is discouraged in patients who are not adequately fasted or who have bleeding disorders. Anesthesia is also necessary for this procedure. Each patient is evaluated prior to this procedure to adequately determine their risk for anesthesia.
Complications with endoscopy are uncommon but possible. The information gained from endoscopy can be very helpful in both diagnosis of disease and in treatment (such as removal of foreign material, dilation of esophageal strictures). Endoscopy can also help to avoid surgical intervention leading to a faster recovery time. Possible risks associated with endoscopy include:
What therapeutic services do you offer? The Internal Medicine team works closely with your family veterinarian. Therapeutic (treatment) plans are tailored to meet the individual medical needs of your pet. In many cases, we may recommend outpatient care. Regular follow-up visits will help us to monitor your pet’s response to treatment and alter the medical plan as needed. In some cases, hospitalization may be recommended for more intensive care and treatment. Throughout treatment, your pet will be cared for by our highly trained doctors and nursing staff.
Surgery is often the most important first step in treating cancer in dogs and cats. Not only does it often remove the tumor and therefore improve or eliminate clinical signs associated with the tumor, but it also allows us to diagnose exactly what type of cancer is present.
Chemotherapy Chemotherapy is the use of medicines or drugs to treat cancer. Chemotherapy drugs are either injected or taken by mouth. Chemotherapy may cause side effects in dogs and cats, but these effects are typically much less severe than what humans experience when they are treated with chemotherapy. The number and frequency of chemotherapy treatments administered varies depending on the type of cancer that is diagnosed and your pet’s response to therapy.
Radiation Therapy Radiation therapy involves the use of a linear accelerator or other machine to deliver radiation to a very specific location on the body. Unlike chemotherapy, radiation therapy does not affect the entire body and therefore side effects are generally limited only to the area that is treated. Radiation treatments may be administered daily for as many as 20 treatments, or may be given less frequently depending on the type of cancer that is being treated. Dogs and cats must be placed under anesthesia for a brief amount of time for each treatment in order to ensure they are placed in an identical position each time.
Melanoma Vaccine The melanoma vaccine is a relatively new cancer therapy that was developed the use in dogs diagnosed with melanoma (oral cavity, skin, or toenail beds are the most common sites for this tumor). This vaccine is administered as a treatment, not a preventative, and stimulates your dog’s own immune response to combat the tumor. The melanoma vaccine causes no adverse side effects in treated patients.
Complementary and Alternative Therapies In addition to traditional cancer therapies such as radiation therapy and chemotherapy, many patients will benefit from the use of complementary and alternative therapies. The use of herbal medicine, acupuncture, or other supplements may help boost the immune system and allow your pet to more effectively respond to traditional therapy, and can also help combat potential side effects associated with these treatments. Acupuncture is often a great addition to the treatment protocol for any type of pain associated with certain tumors.
The VESC is one of the few hospitals nationwide to offer radioactive iodine (I-131) treatment as an alternative treatment for feline hyperthyroidism.
One injection of Radioiodine (I-131) is all it takes!
I-131 therapy is generally regarded as the treatment of choice for most hyperthyroid patients who are systematically stable without clinically significant cardiopulmonary, gastrointestinal, renal, hepatic, endocrine or neurological disease. Nonthyroid related medical problems should be discussed with I-131 personnel to determine if I-131 is appropriate for your patients.Please review the following information with clients when considering referring a patient for I-131 therapy. Required pre-therapy workup: CBC, Complete Biochemical Profile, T4, Urinalysis with sediment, Retrovirus testing for FeLV and FIV and diagnostic quality radiographs depicting thoracic and abdominal structures… all tests should be current with 30 – 45 days.
An initial screening appointment is required with Dr. Howard before the scheduled admission date to confirm the diagnosis of hyperthyroidism, evaluate and discuss overall patient health, obtain additional or updated test results and allow clients to discuss concerns or questions they may have regarding therapy.
I-131 therapy includes:
If you have any questions please call Dr. Howard or a Referral Coordinator at (804) 353-9000
Animal Eye Care of Richmond is a veterinary referral practice offering complete medical and surgical eye care for all species of animals.
When your primary care veterinarian refers you to Animal Eye Care, please have the pcDVM fax one of our referral form with the following information filled in: Any medications your pet is or has been receiving for his or her eye problem, any medical conditions your pet has been diagnosed with, when the eye conditions was first noticed and attach any recent lab tests, such as blood work.
Hours of Operations: Monday, Tuesday and Thursday 8:30am-4:45pm Wednesday 8:30am-12 noon Friday 8:30am-3:45pm
3318 West Cary Street Richmond, VA 23221 Phone: 804-355-5594 Fax: 804-213-0339
PLEASE NOTE: Animal Eye Care of Richmond is an independently owned practice that we work with for the convenience of our clients.
For a pet owner, skin problems can be very frustrating. Sometimes, the symptoms can be so severe that the skin may become irritated, sore and infected. The single most important aspect of controlling the itching sensation is to identify and treat the underlying problem.
Conditions that may require an evaluation by a board certified veterinary dermatologist include:
Animal Allergy and Dermatology Founded by Dr. Dunbar Gram in 1991, Animal Allergy and Dermatology is a full time veterinary dermatology specialty practice dedicated in providing the latest and most advanced dermatological care available. It is our hope that with a foundation of exceptional service we will continue our mission in providing primary care veterinarians the support needed to meet the needs of their patients and clients. Currently, Animal Allergy and Dermatology is operating out of four locations throughout Virginia. We only treat animals with skin and ear disease or allergies. We do not provide services unrelated to dermatology or allergy. Click here to visit our website.
Your Veterinarian When your veterinarian refers your pet to a specialist, this indicates that your veterinarian cares about your pet and wants the problem treated in the safest, most up-to-date manner possible. Optimal patient care requires close communication among the client; board certified dermatologist and referring veterinarian. At the conclusion of your appointment, we will notify your veterinarian of our clinical findings and treatment recommendations. Because we only treat patients with dermatological or allergy problems, your veterinarian will continue to provide comprehensive veterinary care.
Animal Allergies Allergies are the most common cause of skin problems in dogs and cats. An estimated 1 out of 5 domestic animals, such as dogs and cats, suffer from some form of allergy. Dogs and cats can suffer the discomfort from allergies in different ways such as itching, skin irritation or secondary skin and ear infections caused by sensitivity to a specific allergen.
Signs that may indicate your pet has allergies include: