UK’s first specialist veterinary heart clinic opens

Willows Veterinary Centre and Referral Service has launched the UK’s first congenital heart disease referral clinic for puppies and kittens.

The Solihull clinic will assess pets who have recently had a heart murmur detected, and are younger than six months old.

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It will then recommend a course of action to pet owners and, if necessary, carry out keyhole surgery on the pet. The new clinic features advanced ultrasound facilities, as well as “state-of-the-art” CT for assessing complex cases. 

Chris Linney, head of cardiology at Willows, said: “This is the first specialist-led, congenital heart disease clinic in the country and will use some of the latest and most advanced equipment available in the veterinary world. 

“All young animals with murmurs may benefit from the clinic, but those that are always recommended to undergo assessment are puppies with murmurs grade three (out of six) and over, and kittens with murmurs grade four (out of six) and over.

He added: “By reviewing these animals at a younger age, we hope to be able to put care plans in place that can improve their long-term health.

“We will also offer a precise diagnosis, outlook and prognosis on the cause of the heart murmur and, where needed, carry out minimally-invasive keyhole surgery. Often, the earlier these are performed, the better the outlook for the patient.”

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