Ohio Veterinary Cardiology, Ltd.
Our cardiologists evaluate, diagnose and treat congenital and acquired heart diseases. This comprehensive practice offers specialized diagnostics and invasive procedures that once were only available hundreds of miles away.
As a specialized practice within a multi-speciality hospital, we provide integrated specialized care for pets with complex, multi-systemic disease and assist in the management of cardiac complications of other disease processes. When necessary, we make recommendations for and facilitate transfer to our surgeons when surgical intervention or therapy is required.
We work closely with your regular veterinarian to keep them updated on our findings and recommendations and partner with them to provide for your pet's ongoing care.
We do NOT require a referral from regular vets as listed on the website.
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The echocardiogram is an ultrasound of the heart. Our highly sophisticated echocardiograph is the same equipment used in human hospitals such as Akron General. With this machine, we obtain two dimensional views of the heart, including all four chambers of the heart, valves and major blood vessels. Using Doppler, we can also evaluate the speed, direction, and quality of blood flow. The picture from an echocardiogram is much more detailed information about the heart than a radiograph and involves no radiation exposure. The echocardiogram is non-invasive and does not require anesthesia, although a light sedative may be used, on rare occasion, for some of our uncooperative patients or in puppies and kittens.
Radiographs are one of the most common diagnostics performed. Radiographs, or x-rays, of the chest are usually done to evaluate heart size and the lung fields. Congestive heart failure is diagnosed when the radiographs show evidence of fluid in the lungs in conjunction with cardiac changes. X-rays are a non-invasive test. The patient is placed on their side for one view and then on their back for the second view. The results are ready within seconds and available for interpretation by Dr. Hitchcock and our radiologists (VetRad).
Monitoring your pet’s blood pressure is often important in caring for him/her in the face of heart disease. This is another non-invasive procedure performed a little differently than in human medicine. We measure your pet’s front leg (tail and rear legs work as well) and based on that measurement choose the proper cuff size for the limb. Instead of using a stethoscope to listen for blood flow return after inflating and then slowly deflating the cuff, we use a Doppler device which amplifies the sound of the blood flow. With the Doppler we are able to measure the systolic (top number) blood pressure. Normal blood pressure in a dog is 100-160 mmHg, and in a cat is 110-160 mmHg.
An ECG is a recording of the electrical activity in your pet’s heart. It is used most commonly to diagnose an arrhythmia, or abnormal heart rhythm, in your pet. Changes on the ECG can also suggest enlargement of specific heart chambers. This is a non-invasive procedure where we have the capability to evaluate your pet’s heart rhythm by a rhythm strip (leads I, II, and III), 6-lead and 12-lead ECGs. We look at multiple leads to evaluate the electrical activity from different locations of your pet’s body.
A Holter monitor is a 24-hour ECG recording device that your pet would wear home for heart rhythm monitoring purposes. A Holter is used to look for transient arrhythmias that may be missed on an in-clinic ECG, to evaluate frequency and severity of an arrhythmia, and to monitor response to antiarrhythmic therapy.
An Event monitor is also a way to look for transient arrhythmia in a pet that is having collapse or other unexplained symptoms. Instead of only wearing the monitor for a 24 hour period, your pet would go home with the Event monitor and wear it for a whole month. The Holter monitor records the ECG during a full 24 hour period while it is being worn, whereas the Event monitor only records during an “event” after you push the record button (the actual recording time consists of approximately 30 seconds before and after pushing the record button). We recommend an Event monitor when a pet is collapsing and we do not catch an arrhythmia during their scheduled appointment or identify another reason for the symptoms.
Fluoroscopy provides a moving image type of radiograph. It is a non-invasive tool but does involve radiation exposure and is usually done in a sedated or anesthetized patient. In cardiology, fluoroscopy is a vital tool for performing invasive diagnostics and procedures such a cardiac catheterization, angiography, and pacemaker implantion.
Cardiac catheterization and angiography
Because animals do not commonly suffer from coronary disease (unlike their human owners) and since most congenital and acquired diseases can be diagnosed non-invasively by echocardiography, cardiac catheterization and angiography are most often performed in association with invasive procedures or in cases which a definitive diagnosis cannot be made by echocardiography. Cardiac catheterizations are performed in anesthetized animals and most commonly involve passing specialized catheters via either the jugular vein or carotid artery in the neck or femoral artery or vein in the leg into the great vessels and heart. Pressures can be measured and special dye studies (angiography) can be done to outline cardiac structures.
The most common cardiac invasive procedures performed at Metropolitan are pacemaker implantation, ballon valvuloplasty, and ductal occlusion. Pacemakers are implanted for abnormal heart rhythms that cause the heart to beat too slowly or result in pauses in the heart beat. Balloon valvuloplasty is most commonly done for palliation of a birth defect of the pulmonic valve that prevents this valve from opening normally. A specialized balloon catheter is passed across the abnormal valve and inflated to tear open the valve and allow easier passage of blood into the lungs. The Canine Ductal Occluder is a device that can be delivered via a catheter to occlude (correct) a patent ductus artriosus, a common birth defect in dogs. This defect can also be corrected by thoracic surgery.
For your initial appointment please allow yourself at least an hour and a half for the consultation and diagnostics. Please arrive 10 minutes before your scheduled appointment to complete a client information sheet (PDF)
. Once the paperwork is complete, Dr. Fauske or a technician will obtain a history on your pet. Dr. Fauske and Dr. Hitchcock will examine your pet and review information from your referring veterinarian and formulate a plan for your pet. This recommended plan will be discussed and any questions you may have will be answered. Once the initial physical exam is complete, and recommendations are discussed, your pet will be taken to our procedure room and any diagnostics needed will be performed at that time. Upon completion of the recommended diagnostics you will again be placed in an exam room, with your pet, and Dr. Hitchcock will go over her findings and additional recommendations. We will have written go-home instructions (including test results, diagnosis, medications, and further follow-up needed) for you. A copy of these go-home instructions is always faxed to your referring/regular veterinarian(s).The consultation fee is approximately $160. During the consultation Dr. Hitchcock will provide you with a detailed estimate for any additional treatment/testing she is recommending. Please call Lisa at 330-670-2376 to schedule an appointment.
OVC Practice Hours
Ohio Veterinary Cardiology's practice hours are Monday through Thursday from 7:30am to 5:00pm. Although there are no office hours Friday, Dr. Fauske is available for emergency consult. Dr. Hitchcock or Dr. Fauske do come in over the weekends to evaluate in-hospital patients and are available for emergency phone consultation.
When your pet is hospitalized through cardiology Dr. Fauske will call you by noon with a general update (during regular business hours Monday through Thursday). If you have not heard from us by noon please don't hesitate to call. Dr. Hitchcock or Dr. Fauske will call in the afternoon with a second update once we have gathered information and have performed necessary diagnostics. The afternoon update calls are usually after 4:00pm (Monday through Thursday). If your pet is hospitalized outside of regular business days you will receive a call from a doctor before noon. Lisa will call you with a financial update once daily while your pet is hospitalized Monday through Thursday. Please ask Dr. Hitchcock or Dr. Fauske for a financial update if your pet is hospitalized Friday through Sunday.Visitation hours for our hospitalized patients are between the hours of 10:00am and 7:00pm. Room visitation for approximately 30 minutes once a day is allowed. We ask that ICU visitation be limited to 15 minutes. If you visit after OVC hours, please do not expect to speak directly to the emergency veterinarians. If you have any concerns, please let the technical staff know and this will be relayed to the attending doctor or staff doctor.
Hally E. Niehaus, RVT
B.S.: The Ohio State University (2001)
R.V.T.: Columbus State Community College (2003)
V.T.S.: Academy of Veterinary Internal Medicine - Cardiology (2011)
Originally from Dayton, Ohio, Hally has been living in Northeast Ohio since Ohio Veterinary Cardiology opened their doors at Metropolitan Veterinary Hospital in August 2004. She has been working in the veterinary field since 1995 and has been a registered veterinary technician, working work Dr. Hitchcock, since 2003. She obtained her specialty certification in cardiology the summer of 2011. She currently lives in Copley with her husband, their three children, and a menagerie of fur-babies. "I have always wanted to work with animals and am lucky enough to have made my career out of my passion!"
Lisa Anderson (Receptionist)
Lisa currently resides in Coventry with her husband, Adam and their beautiful daughter, Isabella, and their cat, Luna. She has been with Ohio Veterinary Cardiology since February 2008 as Dr. Hitchcock’s receptionist. At the front desk she answers incoming calls, relays messages, schedules appointments and always has a smile for new and established clients. “I am very happy to play a role on the cardiology team here at Metropolitan Veterinary Hospital!”