Veterinary Cardiology Specialists Partnering With Your Family Veterinarian
A specialist in veterinary cardiology works with heart disease, lung disease, and diseases of the chest. The heart and lungs are intimately related in the chest, and if one is affected the other is often also infected. Since the body is one integrated organism, a veterinary cardiologist also handles other related internal medicine matters.
Heart and lung disease in animals take on many forms. Signs of heart or lung disease vary, but may include weakness or exercise intolerance, shortness of breath, fast breathing at rest, collapse or fainting spells, or coughing. In order to obtain a definitive diagnosis there is a certain amount of information we will obtain by asking about your petís health history, by performing a physical examination, and by utilizing unparalleled diagnostics tests such as measuring blood pressure, obtaining chest radiographs and a cardiac ultrasound. Once the diagnosis is made, we will devise a treatment plan that will best suit both you and your petís needs.
At Oakland Veterinary Referral Services, our cardiologists will work closely with your family veterinarian to continue to meet the needs of you and your pet. The goal of our dedicated staff is to provide heartfelt care and support to make your experience at our hospital as stress-free as possible and enrich the bond between you and your pet.
Appointments & Patient Forms
If Your Pet is Hospitalized
Questions About Cardiology
- Why does my pet need a veterinary cardiologist?
- Your family veterinarian may recommend that you see a veterinary cardiologist to better define the nature and type of your pet's heart disease. Veterinary cardiologists use their specialized training, years of experience and the most technologically advanced equipment to diagnose, treat and manage your petís heart disease. Similar to human cardiologists, veterinary cardiologists have additional training in the form of internships and residency programs that span 3-5 years beyond veterinary school.
- What information should I bring to my first visit?
- Please bring your pet's medical records as well as recent blood test results, x-rays and electrocardiogram (ECG) rhythm strips your family veterinary has performed. This will help to prevent unnecessary duplication of tests.
- What should I expect during my first visit to the cardiologist?
- Your initial consultation appointment will last approximately 1-1/2 to 2 hours, which allows ample time to discuss your pet's disease and to answer your questions. A technician or assistant will obtain your pet's vital signs and history. The cardiologist will then review any prior diagnostics performed at your veterinarian's office along with your pet's medical history. Typically, an echocardiogram (ultrasound of the heart) is necessary to diagnose your pet's heart disease, which can be performed during the time allotted for your appointment. Unlike in human medicine, the cardiologist will complete the echocardiogram and interpret the results during the same visit. To conclude your visit, the cardiologist will discuss the findings, diagnosis and the prognosis of your pet's cardiac disease. The cardiologist will also discuss the case with your family veterinarian, and create a discharge letter summarizing your visit and your petís customized treatment plan.
- Will my pet need to be sedated for the echocardiogram (heart ultrasound) or ECG?
- No. The echocardiogram and ECG are both non-invasive and non-painful. Most patients tolerate these procedures very well.
- Are cardiac medications expensive?
- Most of the medications prescribed by our cardiologists are used in human medicine. Some of these medications are still under a patent and can be more expensive, but most are available in generic forms. Our staff is knowledgeable about the cost of these medications and will help you keep costs to a minimum while still offering optimal care.
Our Cardiology Expertise
- 3D Echocardiography
- Electrocardiography (ECG)
- Holter monitoring
- Telemetry (continuous wireless electrocardiography)
- Event monitoring
- Doppler and oscillometric blood pressure monitoring
- OFA certification (cardiac)
- Pre-surgical screening
- Digital radiography
Tour Our Cardiology Department
Our department hours are Monday through Saturday, 9am-5pm.
After hours appointments or emergency procedures are available on a case-by-case basis.
Meet Our Cardiologists
Renee D. Riepe, DVM
Diplomate, ACVIM Cardiology
Dr. Riepe, DVM is board certified by the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine, in the subspecialty of cardiology. Dr. Riepe attended the University of Tennessee College of Veterinary Medicine where she focused on cardiovascular disease. In her senior year, Dr. Riepe was recognized with the ďOutstanding Student in Small Animal MedicineĒ award.
Timothy J. Becker, DVM
Diplomate, American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine (Internal Medicine & Cardiology)
Timothy J. Becker, DVM, diplomate ACVIM is a graduate of Tufts University School of Veterinary Medicine. After finishing his veterinary degree, he completed a one-year small animal rotating internship at Angell Memorial Animal Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts. Dr. Becker then worked in general practice in Maine for 2 years before starting an internal medicine residency.