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Cardiology and Cardio-respiratory Referrals

Gavin McAulay – RCVS  Recognised Specialist in Veterinary Cardiology - Cert EM (Int Med) CertVC BVetMed MRCVS.

Gavin investigates, diagnoses, treats and manages heart and respiratory disease in cats and dogs. Our cardio-respiratory service offers assessment of heart murmurs, arrhythmias (irregular heart beats), weakness, collapse, exercise intolerance, pericardial and pleural effusions (fluid around the heart or lungs), breathing problems, coughing, sneezing and epistaxis (nose bleeds).

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Our specialist services for cardiology and cardio-respiratory referral include:

  • Investigation of exercise intolerance, weakness and collapse
  • Reassessment and management of long-term cardiac cases
  • Treatment of pericardial and pleural effusions
  • Assessment of murmurs and arrhythmias
  • Investigation of nasal discharge and bleeding
  • Investigation of cough
  • Breed screening for heart disease
  • Pre-anaesthetic risk assessment
  • Radiology and ECG reading for referring vets

Our specialist cardiac and cardio-respiratory equipment includes:

  • Echocardiography ultrasound; 2D, Advanced CF, CW and TDI Doppler
  • ECG and Ambulatory Holter ECG monitoring
  • Stortz Bronchoscopy and Rhinoscopy system
  • 16 Slice GE CT Scanner on site
  • Digital Radiography

Heart Murmur assessment typically involves echocardiography ultrasound examination of the heart using 2D, M-Mode and Doppler techniques. Echocardiography is a highly skilled, painless procedure to assess the structure, size and function of the heart and is usually performed in awake animals. Heart murmurs can occur without heart disease and blood samples and blood pressure are often checked at the same time.

Investigation of coughing and breathing problems usually involves echocardiography to exclude heart disease with CT or thoracic radiography, (x-rays), under general anaesthesia. CT is a form of advanced radiography that can assess the nose, airways and lungs in great detail in three dimensions. Examination of the airways is often performed with a flexible camera, (bronchoscope), allowing samples of cells and bacteria to be taken from deep within the airway.

Investigation of weakness, collapse or exercise intolerance usually involves echocardiography, thoracic radiography (X-Rays), blood samples and ECG. Some animals may be sent home with a vest containing an ambulatory Holter ECG to monitoring their heart rate and rhythm at home, particularly when they are exercising.

Accumulations of fluid around the heart or within the chest, (pericardial and pleural effusions), are typically assessed with ultrasound and sometimes CT. Pericardial drainage and pleurocentesis is usually performed under sedation or general anaesthesia.

Investigation of nasal disease usually involves CT under general anaesthesia with examination of the nasal cavity and throat with a camera, (rhinoscopy), allowing samples of cells and bacteria to be taken from within the airway.

Refer a patient

For routine referrals your vet will need to fill in our online referrals form and we we’ll contact you directly to schedule an appointment.


If you’re a client of New Priory Vets Brighton or Peacehaven clinics or your pet has been admitted to Priory Emergency Treatment Services we can organise this directly via the general practice or emergency vets.


If you’d like to discuss how Gavin may be able to assist you with a case, please contact or if your case is urgent in nature please contact us on 01273 540430.

Online Referrals Form

Advice for Owners

Sussex vets may refer patients presenting with signs relating to the heart or lungs for clinical examination by our cardiologist Gavin McAulay. Anxieties about heart and breathing disease in cats and dogs are common but making an accurate diagnosis and deciding on the best treatment can be challenging. After examining your pet Gavin will discuss the significance of the results with you to determine the most appropriate treatment options.

If your pet is has difficulty breathing, appears distressed or is collapsing this is always of concern and we recommend you contact your vet as soon as possible.

In the event your pet has been referred to us for cardio-respiratory investigation, we have included some helpful advice to help you know what to expect. Although many owners are concerned about general anaesthetic many cardio-respiratory investigations do not require sedation or general anaesthetic.