Our Cardiology service will be closed as of April 13, 2017

Dr. Margiocco is taking a personal leave of absence in Italy with an anticipated return date of March 2018.

As of April 13, 2017, all prescription refills and monitoring will need to be performed by the family veterinarians.

During his leave, Dr. Margiocco will be doing telemedicine via Idexx.

We appreciate all of your support over the past 7 years and, as you all know, Dr. Margiocco is extremely dedicated to the care of your patients, and I’m sure we all look forward to his return.… Continue reading

Dharma and her new lease on life: pacemaker placement in a dog

Dharma was referred to Dr Margiocco because her family veterinarian had detected an abnormal heart rhythm (cardiac arrhythmia) approximately two weeks earlier   while investigating Dharma’s history of exercise intolerance and an episode of acute weakness (“flopping down”) while walking.  Dharma was not receiving any medication at that time. 

An ECG was done and revealed a heart block (second degree AV block) causing an abnormally low heart rate which was likely responsible for her episodes of weakness.    The red arrows show where the blocks occur. 

The next step was to give atropine, a medication used to increase the heart rate.  As her heart rate did not respond as expected (it should have increased significantly), structural damage to the heart’s conduction system was suspected. An ultrasound (echocardiogram) was normal indicating the absence of other significant heart diseases.  

A 24 hour Holter monitor (continuous ECG reading) recording was able to detect that Dharma’s … Continue reading

Breeding Healthier Dogs: King Charles Cavalier Spaniels Heart-Check Clinic

Recently, Canada West Cardiologist Dr. Marco Margiocco and teamed up with Bertie Nelson of the Cavalier Club of BC to preside over a heart-check clinic day (the technical term is an “auscultation clinic”) for a large and happy group of Cavalier King Charles Spaniels (“CKCS”).

Mitral valve disease is the most common form of heart disease in CKCS dogs.  Mitral valve disease is highly heritable (i.e. passed from one generation to the next) and a study published in 2010 provided a simple protocol for breeders to help breed healthier dogs by avoiding breeding of CKCS dogs that show signs of the disease during their first five years of life.  With the information gleaned from such clinics, breeders are in a better position to improve the health of future generations of puppies.

If you would like to learn more about organizing a heart-check clinic for your dog club, please contact the … Continue reading

Minimally Invasive Cardiology for Dogs

Author: Tanya Crocker

In late November, we held our first invasive cardiology lab here at Canada West. Invasive cardiology involves using diagnostic and therapeutic tools, such as balloons, catheters or stents that are inserted directly into the patient’s body to treat heart disease.  They are much less invasive than traditional surgical procedures and can be used to treat animals that would otherwise be forced to travel outside of Canada for effective treatment at greater cost and risk.

Setting up Hermosa's angiogram

Hermosa, a 7 month old extremely sweet boxer, was referred to us in September due to a heart murmur she had had since birth.  Some breeds are more susceptible to heart conditions and boxers are amongst this group.  A heart murmur is caused by abnormal blood flow through the heart. Heart murmurs are graded from 1 to 6, with 6 being the most serious. This murmur was a grade … Continue reading

Veterinary cardiology

Authored by Dr Marco L. Margiocco.

Our field of specialization has evolved over the past two decades to respond to the need to provide specialized diagnostics and treatment options for the management of heart disease, a condition that affects approximately 10% of dogs and a not well known number of cats.
In order to become a veterinary cardiologist a veterinarian, after completion of at least a one year internship, must undergo a three year training program and take and pass a two day examination.

What do veterinary cardiologists do? What does a typical day in a veterinary cardiology service look like?

Well, there are two major areas, called invasive and non-invasive cardiology. In general, cardiologists are not trained surgeons, therefore do not perform traditional surgical procedures that imply direct access to the chest. If open chest surgery is needed to treat a patient with a cardiac condition, the operation is … Continue reading