What is a heart murmur?
A heart murmur is an abnormal heart sound caused by turbulent blood flow. They are graded on a scale of 1-6 (6 being the loudest). A heart murmur is not a definitive diagnosis; an echocardiogram is required to determine the source of the murmur. Visit our “What is a Heart Murmur” page for more information.
How much does a cardiology appointment cost?
Typical new patient appointments range from $725-$1000. Pricing is dependent on what diagnostics are completed, if any medications are prescribed, and whether or not your appointment is scheduled as an emergency. Recheck exams are generally less expensive than first-time appointments. Visit our What to Expect page for detailed pricing and more information.
What if I can’t afford a cardiac work-up?
We strive to work within every clients’ budget while still providing exceptional medical care for your pet. We accept all major credit cards as well as CareCredit. Learn more about our payment policy and the financial resources available to you. If you have any concerns or questions, please contact our office (phone: 503-246-9689, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org).
How long will my appointment be?
Appointments are scheduled for an hour, with new patient exams sometimes lasting an hour and a half. This includes diagnostics and time at the end of each appointment to discuss your pet’s treatment plan with the doctor or technician.
How often does my pet need to see the cardiologist?
This can vary widely. For an asymptomatic pet we often recommend yearly rechecks with Cardiology Northwest with a follow up with your primary care veterinarian in between for labwork and/or x-rays. If your pet has severe heart disease and is on medication, we may recommend cardiac rechecks every 3-6 months.
Why does my pet need an echocardiogram (heart ultrasound)?
Echocardiograms are the gold standard for diagnosing heart disease. They allow the doctor to look inside your pet’s heart and take specific measurements of chamber sizes, velocity of blood flow, and contraction strength. This is ideal for a definitive diagnosis and proper medical management of heart disease.
Do you have to sedate my pet for an echocardiogram?
Echocardiograms are very non-invasive and rarely require sedation, and our team members are experts at safe and low-stress handling techniques. If your pet is very anxious, we may recommend mild oral sedation prior to the appointment. Rarely, we will need to give injectable sedation if a pet is extremely stressed or aggressive.
Can I stay with my pet during the appointment?
You can stay with your pet during the entire length of the appointment if you wish. We encourage clients to be present for the echocardiogram as it often helps to lower their pet’s stress-level. The only exception would be for x-rays and other more invasive procedures if recommended.
Can my pet have breakfast and/or medications prior to his/her appointment?
Your pet can have meals and any medications per their usual routine.
Will I have information to go home with?
We will give you detailed discharge instructions with a summary of the doctor’s findings, your pet’s diagnosis, treatment plan (including medication information and doses), what to watch for at home, and follow-up recommendations.
Will this information be shared with my primary care veterinarian?
We pride ourselves on our collaboration with primary care veterinarians, and will make sure all of your pet’s doctors receive a full report within a few days after your appointment, and any recheck appointment thereafter.
Will my pet need heart surgery?
While there are occasions when the best treatment is cardiac surgery, this is fairly rare. For the majority of our patients we will recommend medical management through medications and regular cardiac exams.
How expensive are cardiac medications?
This too can vary widely. Typical medications such as benazepril/enalapril and furosemide/Lasix are relatively inexpensive (<$50 for 2 months), however there are some heart medications that do cost more. Most of the medications we prescribe can be purchased at human pharmacies, and online pet pharmacies often have competitive pricing.