Cardiology

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  • Dr. Bonnie Lefbom is passionate about providing state of the art veterinary cardiology for pets along with compassionate care for pet families. Having spent several years as a primary care veterinarian prior to her specialty training, Dr. Lefbom is centered in the practical approach to patient care. She is well aware of the emotional and financial considerations involved in treating her patients and works closely with owners to achieve the optimal treatment in every case. She also provides surgical repair of the congenital defect Patent Ductus Arteriosus for our smallest patients with outstanding success.

    Dr. Lefbom is committed to lifelong learning.  As such, she stays current in cardiology topics as well as in her other areas of interest – leadership and personal development. Dr. Lefbom lectures regularly in these areas to groups both locally and nationally.  She also has a special interest in breed-specific cardiac disease and has several articles published in refereed veterinary journals.

    Dr. Lefbom’s home life is busy and fun with the Lefbom family zoo – 3 teenage children, 2 spoiled dogs, and 1 very special big orange cat named Fireball. Dr. Lefbom is a sports enthusiast at many levels. She is a triathlete, plays tennis and volleyball and also loves to cheer on the many local sports teams including her Alma Mater – the Terps!

  • Dr. Sidley’s practice is devoted to the most effective and compassionate treatment of dogs and cats with heart disease.  She understands that staying current on the latest diagnostic techniques and treatment options is only part of her job and also places a high value on respectful client communication.  She strives to understand the financial,  emotional, and other factors particular to each case but essential in helping the client develop the best plan for that patient.

    Born and raised in northern Virginia, Dr. Sidley returned to the area in 2000 to join Chesapeake Veterinary Cardiology Associates.  She is a 1988 graduate of the University of Virginia, received her Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine from the University of Minnesota in 1996, and completed her internship and cardiology residency at North Carolina State University four years later.  She has been a Diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine in the College of Cardiology since 2000.  Dr. Sidley has designed and led academic research studies and has been published in many research journals, including the Journal of Veterinary Internal Medicine and the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association.

    Dr. Sidley’s family includes a fluffy black Spaniel mix from a local rescue group, often mistaken for some sort of rare pedigreed dog, three cats of varied ancestry, and, the newest addition, a two-year-old daughter.  In her limited spare time, she enjoys outdoor activities and is often seen competing in local running races and the occasional triathlon.  In the winter months, she is looking forward to the day her daughter is old enough to be introduced to the bunny hill at one of the local ski areas.

  • The ideal way to figure out the severity and treatment options for any pet with heart disease is to see a board certified veterinary cardiologist in person.  Board –certified specialists have four years of advanced training after veterinary school and pass two consecutive years of testing with the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine to demonstrate their advanced expertise in cardiology.  Taking your pet to a cardiologist allows a hands on thorough cardiac examination of your pet along with the expert actually performing an echocardiogram – a non-invasive ultrasound of the heart that is done with the family present.  The board certified veterinary cardiologist will explain the results to you during the course of the visit.  Based on their findings, the cardiologist will determine exactly what type of therapy will best treat your pet.

  • We will update your information in our computer system during check in. In the exam room, a blood pressure reading may be performed by the doctor’s assistant, based on your pet’s age and current medications. The doctor will then come in and perform an examination on your pet. An echocardiogram (ultrasound of the heart) will likely be done on your pet. The echocardiogram is considered the “Gold Standard” of diagnostics and is how our cardiologists obtain the best information regarding your pet’s cardiac function. Typically, we encourage you to be present with your pet during the echocardiogram. This helps to keep your pet calm as well as allows you to see the results and discuss the interpretation right away. You will receive a detailed home care report to take with you. It will have all of the doctor’s findings and recommendations. A full report will be faxed over the same day to your primary care veterinarian and any other veterinarians who are involved in your pet’s care. Most appointments typically last an hour.

  • Please bring:

    • A list of all medications with strengths and dosages or pill vials with labels.
    • Any medical records or chest x-rays that have not been sent electronically by your veterinarian.
    • Your pet.
  • Absolutely, yes.  We believe an accurate assessment of your pet’s heart is made with you present to keep you pet calm during the echocardiogram.

  • It is very rare that we need to shave or sedate pets.  Most pets are very calm when their family is by their side. We wet the fur down with alcohol and ultrasound gel to obtain our echocardiographic study.

  • Cardiac medications are recommended for various reasons.

    • To help stabilize your pet’s underlying cardiac disease and delay the onset of symptoms.
    • To resolve or stabilize signs of heart failure.
    • To treat an arrhythmia.

    For some pets, all three types of medications are needed to provide optimal outcomes.

     

  • Partnership for Optimal Outcome and Care: Patients with congestive heart failure live 75% longer when co-managed by a board certified veterinary cardiologist and primary care veterinarian.
  • Collaboration with Primary Care Veterinarian: CVCA is committed to ensuring ongoing communication with your primary care veterinarian; providing guidance and advice as needed
  • Exceptional, Compassionate Service: Over 99% of our clients would recommend us to a friend or family member.
  • 24/7 Availability: Our board certified veterinary cardiologists are available by phone 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for emergencies and primary care veterinarians.
  • Flexibility in Payment: Plans consist of CareCredit, interest free payment plans, all major credit cards, checks and cash.
  • Exceptional Value: Initial Consultations Include:
    • Blood pressure
    • Echocardiogram
    • Unlimited time for questions
    • Discussion and followup
    • Constant access to cardiologist, 24/7 for phone consultations
    • Full and accurate cardiac workup offers your patient the best chance to minimize ongoing and unexpected veterinary costs
  • Diagnostics and Examinations: Owners accompany pet for echocardiogram so board certified cardiologist can:
    • Discuss exam in detail
    • Provide immediate diagnosis
    • Ensure accuracy in imaging and measurements
    • Provide ample time and opportunity to discuss treatment options
  • Patients with congestive heart failure live 75% longer when co-managed by a board certified veterinary cardiologist and primary care veterinarian than those whose care does not include a board certified cardiologist.