Cardiology and Thoracic Services in Santa Barbara
Tremendous advancements have been made in human cardiology (the diagnosis and treatment) of human heart disease. Some of these advancements are beginning to trickle down to veterinary cardiology however at a slower rate due to the costs of the equipment needed by the veterinarian, the ability of a pet owner to pay for the use of this advanced equipment and the proper education required by the veterinarian to use this equipment. None the less, you should know the term “interventional cardiology” which is the use of minimally invasive surgical procedures to treat heart disease. This does exist as a veterinary treatment option, to a lesser extent than in human cardiology, for those who are prepared to go to a select number of veterinary hospitals such as University California Davis. These techniques are based on the use of real time x-rays (i.e. Fluoroscopy) and various specialized catheters which are capable of depositing various stents and balloons in various locations within the heart.
At this hospital we employ x-rays, echocardiography with color flow and pulse wave Doppler (where blood flow velocities and pressure within the heart are used to establish a diagnosis), Doppler blood pressure monitors, electrocardiogram (EKG), multiparameter monitors, and a number of commercial blood tests to assess and diagnose your pet's heart disease. For lung disease these tests can be extended by the use of a bronchoscope. Only after a proper and accurate diagnosis can any definitive medication safely be used to manage your pet's heart disease.
Dr. Dalo received the Everingham Prize in veterinary cardiology in 1985 given by the University of Pennsylvania as a graduating student. Although many advancements in cardiology have been made since this time he tries to stay current on most of them and remains interested. If a specialist is needed for consultation after our assessment then we would refer you to such a specialist.
RELATED DIAGNOSES treated on a regular basis at LCAH:
Congenital maldevelopment of the heart muscle, valves or large blood vessels around the heart such as PDA (Patent Ductus Arteriosis), ventricular and atrial septal defects, leaky heart valve due to malformation such as dysplasia or stenosis, acquired diseases such as Cardiomyopathy, leaky heart valve either due to aging or infection and fluid around the heart (pericardial effusion).
A large variety of lung diseases have been diagnosed and successfully treated at this hospital by either medicine or by surgery. We are very experienced with open and endoscopic assisted chest surgeries. We have successfully performed PDA surgery as well as persistent right aortic arch surgery and a wide variety of partial or complete lung lobectomies for a variety of reasons such as trauma, chronic localized infection and cancer. The list of related treatments is too long to list. You can always call and ask our experience level for any given procedure.
EQUIPMENT AVAILABLE ON-SITE:
- Bronchoscope - Endoscopy of the airways and lungs, facilitating thorough examination of the respiratory tract to identify abnormalities, collect samples, identify and remove foreign bodies and biopsy lesions or masses.
- Echo Cardiography with Color Flow and Pulse Wave Doppler – Ultrasound uses high-frequency sound waves to look at organs and structures inside the body without entering the body. It allows your veterinarian to view the heart, blood vessels, kidneys, liver and other organs. Unlike x-rays, ultrasound does not involve exposure to radiation. Our state of the art Ultrasound machine allows us to see blood flowing through arteries and veins by use of color flow Doppler. Additionally we can measure the amount of blood flow per second by use of the pulse wave Doppler. Both of these imaging capabilities allow us to accurately assess your pet’s heart and abdominal organs far better than just simple ultrasound alone. Our machine is also equipped with 3D image mode. Additionally, If the disease site is an abdominal site we often do ultrasound guided tissue aspirates or biopsies so we can evaluate the site microscopically to help make a definitive diagnosis. These imaging tools can also be used to help us remove fluid from around the heart, lungs and abdominal organs. Studies of this fluid help us make a diagnosis as well as often make your pet feel better.
- Electrocardiogram - Instrument which measures the amplitude and direction of electrical current moving through heart muscle. Used to detect arrhymias where a specific drug may be needed to control the abnormal heart rhythm.
- Radiology - X-rays used to determine the size of the heart and the health status of the lungs. Lung tissue often collects body fluid when a pet is in heart failure so although x-rays are nothing new we still rely upon them for this type of information.
- Doppler Blood Pressure and Oscillometric Blood Pressure Continuous Monitors - Used to measure and monitor your pets blood pressure. We can also measure and monitor central vinous blood pressure here at this hospital.
- Blood Gas Machine - Used to measure not only the effectiveness of the heart to pump blood, the body to use oxygen but also to measure the function of the lungs.
- Multiparameter Monitors - Used to measure sPO2 (oxygen saturation level of the blood), ETCO2 (the amount of Co2 that is coming out of the lungs) and oscillometric blood pressure on a continuous basis. This is often used in critical care.
One of our more recent interesting cardiac disease cases was in a 6-8 year old German Shepard dog that had low grade fevers and low platelet counts on blood work. Initially, she had no heart murmur. X-rays showed a normal heart but echocardiogram showed there was infection of her aortic heart valve. Blood cultures revealed a staphylococcus infection. This dog was successfully managed on long term antibiotics for 3 years. If open heart surgery could have been done this could have been a curable disease. The limiting factor other than expertise in doing this is the ability to operate and own a heart and lung machine and this is rarely found even in the best university teaching hospitals.