The Dyspneic Cat – Is it the Heart or Lower Airways?

Almost daily, I encounter a radiographic study of a cat in respiratory distress and commonly, the etiology is either congestive heart failure (CHF) or chronic small airway disease such as asthma.  Congestive heart failure has a predictable set of radiographic findings as described below and easier to discern from asthmatic cases.  Asthmatic cases can be challenging to diagnose radiographically as many appear normal or have a questionable bronchial lung pattern even in the most severely…

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Interventional Cardiology

Certain heart problems can be addressed in a minimally invasive manner by accessing the heart and internal blood vessels through peripheral blood vessels in the neck or leg, rather than opening the chest.  Fluoroscopy, which uses X-rays to create video images, provides real-time guidance of movements through the heart and vessels.  These procedures are the treatment of choice for many patients in human cardiology and are also available for pets.  Specific cardiac diseases treated by…

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Interventional Radiology – A New Approach to Old Problems

Interventional Radiology (IR) has become the go-to therapeutic modality in recent years for a large array of clinical problems that historically required more invasive and debilitating surgical procedures. Successful IR requires the close cooperation of multiple specialty fields. Detailed diagnostic information is often necessary to allow the primary consulting specialist to know which IR team members will need to be engaged in the treatment of a given patient and condition. We have recently restructured our…

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Using Torsemide for Dogs & Cats with Congestive Heart Failure

Torsemide, a novel and more potent diuretic than furosemide, may improve management of advanced congestive heart failure in dogs and cats. Torsemide is a novel diuretic that promotes renal excretion of sodium, chloride, and water by targeting the thick ascending loop of Henle, similar to furosemide.  It also confers an anti-aldosterone effect, similar to spironolactone (potassium-sparing diuretic), which may reduce diuretic resistance and myocardial fibrosis.  Compared to furosemide, torsemide demonstrates 10 times greater diuretic potency…

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Subtle Indications of Pre-clinical Heart Disease in Cats

Veterinary Cardiology Tip Cats give little indication of their heart disease – be suspicious of any potential cardiac abnormality, no matter how small, to catch pre-clinical heart disease. Cats do not adhere to basics that are useful when evaluating the canine heart.  From the physical exam to screening tests, such as chest radiographs and the electrocardiogram, cats can thwart our best attempts to diagnose heart disease prior to signs of congestive heart failure (CHF) or…

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