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Kansas State University

The Heart Failure Clinic


Heart failure occurs when the heart muscle fails to pump blood properly. Typically heart failure is the final result of a number of heart diseases and is associated with many clinical signs including exercise intolerance, difficult breathing, cough, and loss of appetite, that impair the quality of life of your pet and decrease life expectancy. Because of this, pets with heart failure require accurate diagnosis and careful treatment by trained veterinarians.

Heart Failure: An Overview

The Kansas State University Veterinary Health Center Heart Failure Clinic project aims at helping you  improve the quality of life of your beloved affected by heart failure.  Our primary objective is to educate you about how to recognize signs of heart failure presented by your dog or cat and how to manage them. We want to work together with your veterinarian to provide a specific, individualized program for your pet aimed at slowing the progression of the disease, reduce the need for hospitalization and help your animal live a happier life.

The Heart Failure Clinic project wants to help with:

  • Recognizing symptoms of heart failure
  • Managing symptoms of heart failure
  • Managing medications
  • Managing possible concomitant diseases

How the clinic works
We prefer a formal referral from your veterinarian. We will provide your veterinarian with a copy of an individualized management plan that will include proposed dates for rechecks, either at our hospital or at your veterinarian’s clinic.

In most circumstances your first appointment will consist of a complete cardiac workup including ECG, chest x-rays, cardiac ultrasound and blood tests. These tests are complementary to one another and are needed to collect essential information concerning the severity of the disease. If your pet is affected by other concomitant conditions (for instance chronic kidney disease, diabetes mellitus, etc), a consult with the appropriate specialist will be suggested.

This first visit will establish the level of care your pet needs. This level determines the frequency and type of rechecks, either with us or with your veterinarian.

During your time at the clinic you will learn how to recognize symptoms of heart failure and how to manage them. Our team will explain how drugs will help your pet and also the importance of not pharmacological interventions, such as diet. You will also receive informative material that reviews or complements what we discussed at the clinic.

Accordingly with the heart failure severity you will be periodically called by our staff in order to update us on how your beloved is doing. These calls are necessary for us in order to understand if the heart failure is progressing.

Research Programs
The KSU Veterinary Health Center Heart Failure project has an active clinical research program, that provides you with the opportunity to participate in clinical therapeutic trials or evaluation of new diagnostic techniques. Clinical prospective trials enrolling client owned animals undergo a rigorous screening process to ensure their safety and potential benefits. Enrolling in one of these studies would allow us to apply cutting-edge diagnostic and therapeutic modalities to the management of you pet’s heart condition, with added financial benefits, that vary based on each specific trial.