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

The clinic will assess cats and dogs under six months old where a heart murmur has been detected.

Willows will then recommend a course of action and, if required, carry out keyhole surgery.

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. As well as advanced ultrasound, we also have state-of-the-art CT available for assessment of complex cases.

"With the support of the 24/7 hospital service and other specialist disciplines here at Willows, it means we can offer excellent care to our patients, their owners and referring vets.

"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.

"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."

For more information, visit www.willows.uk.net.

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