The SASH Cardiology service is run by Dr Rita Singh, a passionate and dedicated specialist committed to providing up-to-date care for animals with heart disease. Patients are referred to the cardiology service at SASH for a thorough diagnostic work up of their cardio-thoracic condition and specialised management plan tailored to the unique aspects of the individual patient and owner’s concerns.

Rita cares for patients with chronic disease, as well as those in the acute stage of disease, which often present as an emergency situation. The first priority in these cases is to stabilise the patient with oxygen therapy, medical management and ventilation if required in consultation with the medical and critical care teams. Once stable, the thorough cardiac work up and appropriate diagnostic tests can be carried out. A cardiac examination is also often conducted as part of the pre-anaesthetic assessment before pets are admitted to other services (e.g. internal medicine, surgery, ophthalmology).

Diagnostic procedures commonly carried out in hospital include echocardiography and electrocardiography (resting). In some cases however, and when arrhythmias or clinical signs are infrequent a continuous ambulatory ECG recorder (or Holter monitor) is required. The Holter monitor is attached to the patient via chest electrodes, with the pet sent home carrying the system in a vest. The ECG is stored on a small memory card, which is transferred to a computer for analysis. While most patients can be evaluated using non-invasive examination methods, but Dr Singh also offers minimally invasive (catheter-based) interventions for certain congenital heart defects. Cardiac pacemakers can also be implanted in dogs with abnormally slow heart rates.

Dr Rita Singh also offers fluoroscopic guided procedures when required for closure of congenital defects, balloon dilation of obstructive defects and cardiac pacemaker implantation.