Cardiology

Our board-certified cardiologist's main goal is to work with you and your primary care veterinarian to diagnose, treat and manage congenital and acquired cardiac diseases from the earliest detection to advanced stages.  We will educate you about your pet's condition, discuss treatment/therapy options and will work with you to set realistic goals and expectations so that your pet has the best quality of life possible.

Because the evaluation of cardiac diseases involves the use of advanced diagnostic equipment and/or procedures, the following is routinely available at all three VSH hospital locations:

  • Color flow and spectral Doppler echocardiography (ultrasound)
  • Electrocardiography (ECG)
  • Radiography
  • Blood pressure measurement (indirect)
  • Ambulatory ECG monitoring (Holter monitor or event recorder)
  • Pericardiocentesis (+/- cytology)
  • Thoracocentesis and abdominocentesis (+/- cytology)

Our cardiology service sees appointments at all three hospital locations—Cary (Monday and Wednesday), Durham (Tuesday), and North Raleigh (Thursday).  We are pleased to be able to provide this service to help improve the quality of life of cardiac patients throughout North Carolina and surrounding states..

What is a board-certified cardiologist?

A veterinary cardiologist has undergone additional training after veterinary school in order to become a specialist. This training consists of a minimum of a 1-year internship followed by a 3-year residency program that meets guidelines established by the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine (ACVIM).

During the residency there are specific training and caseload requirements that must be met. In addition to these requirements, applicants must perform research that is published in a scientific journal and then pass a rigorous examination.

What to expect at your first visit:

When you arrive, you will be asked to fill out a new patient form if you have not already submitted one through our website.

A veterinary technician will then escort you and your pet to an examination room.

Dr. Cocchiaro will review your pet's history with you, look over any prior medical records including laboratory work and radiographs and perform a complete physical examination. During the consultation we will discuss all aspects of your pet's medical condition, address your concerns and work with you to determine the right course of treatment based on our initial assessment and conversations with your primary care veterinarian. We want to provide the best treatment possible for your pet and respect your wishes and goals.

Expect this initial consultation to take 60 to 90 minutes. We may ask you to leave your pet for the rest of the day depending on the tests that may be needed; however, this is rare.  In almost all circumstances we can complete the entire cardiac workup during your allotted appointment time.  We feel this process is the least stressful and best way to give you the most accurate information about your pet's medical condition.