Welcome to the Cardiology Service at Asheville Veterinary Specialists and Regional Emergency Animal Care Hospital. Our Cardiology team is dedicated to helping you and your pet when faced with the prospect of heart disease, or management of an existing heart condition. Our Cardiology team is comprised of Dr. Sophy Jesty, DVM, Diplomate ACVIM (Cardiology) and Katie Stalder, RVT. Dr. Jesty and has many years in the specialty field of Veterinary Cardiology. Dr. Jesty and Katie are supported by the highly skilled staff at R.E.A.C.H. and A.V.S.
What is a Board-Certified Veterinary Cardiologist?
A veterinary cardiologist is a specialist that has advanced training in the heart and circulatory system. To become a board certified veterinary cardiologist a veterinarian usually completes a one year internship followed by extensive specialized training in an approved residency training program (usually 3-5 years).Most veterinary cardiologists work with small animals; however, some specialize in large animals including horses and cattle.
Board certified veterinary cardiologists focus on diagnosing and treating disease of the heart and lungs, which include:
- Congestive heart failure (CHF)
- Heart muscle disease (Dilated cardiomyopathy or hypertrophic cardiomyopathy)
- Age related changes to the valves of the heart (Degenerative mitral valve disease)
- Coughing and other breathing problems
- Congenital (present at birth) heart defects
- Cardiac arrhythmias (problems with the rate and/or rhythm of your animal’s heart)
- Diseases of the pericardium (sac surrounding the heart)
- Cardiac tumors
- High blood pressure (hypertension)
- Pulmonary hypertension (high blood pressure in the lungs)
Veterinary cardiology specialists will perform a complete and thorough physical examination on your animal, and based on these initial findings, additional tests will be discussed. They will also review your animal’s past history and current medications. Depending on your animal’s condition, diagnostic testing or treatments may include:
- Echocardiography (sonogram) – non-invasive ultrasound imaging of the heart
- Electrocardiography (ECG) – non-invasive electrical reading of the heart’s rhythm
- Radiography (x-rays) of the chest and lungs
- Blood pressure evaluation
- Holter monitor – 24 hour ECG performed at home with specialized equipment
- Surgical repair of congenital heart defects
- Cardiac catheterization procedures
- Pacemaker implantation for animals with too slow of a heart rate
- OFA Heart Registry Certification for breeding programs
Board certified veterinary cardiologists are an integral part of your animal’s health care team from the time a potential cardiac abnormality is noted. Early diagnosis and appropriate therapy of cardiac conditions helps your animal live a longer and healthier life. While some cardiac conditions require hospitalization, most conditions can be managed on an outpatient basis by a board certified veterinary cardiologist along with your primary care veterinarian.