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Measuring Vertebral Left Atrial Size in Dogs with Dr. Estrada

Amara Estrada, DVM, DACVIM (Cardiology), University of Florida



In this episode, host Alyssa Watson, DVM, talks with Amara Estrada, DVM, DACVIM (Cardiology), about her recent Clinician’s Brief article, “Measuring Vertebral Left Atrial Size in Dogs.” Dr. Estrada reviews the 2019 consensus guidelines in sharing the history of this new measuring tool. She then explains how to use it, along with the VHS, to screen for cardiomegaly and determine which dogs should be on pimobendan and which really shouldn’t.

Key Takeaways

  • Left atrial (LA) enlargement is often the first structural change in dogs with MMVD.
  • Structural changes are what distinguish stage B1 from stage B2 cases.
  • B2 cases benefit from pimobendan therapy; B1 cases do not.
  • The VLAS screens for LA enlargement in assessing cases as B1 vs. B2.
  • It is performed on a right lateral radiograph in a similar fashion to a VHS.
  • Both VLAS and VHS should be used to screen for cardiomegaly.

About the Guest

Amara H. Estrada, DVM, DACVIM (Cardiology), is a professor of cardiology and the associate chair for instruction in the department of small animal clinical sciences at University of Florida, where she also earned her DVM. Dr. Estrada completed a cardiology residency at Cornell University. She frequently speaks at continuing education meetings nationally and internationally. Her research interests include inherited cardiomyopathies and interprofessional education.

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The Team:

  • Alyssa Watson, DVM - Host
  • Alexis Ussery - Producer & Digital Content Coordinator
  • Randall Stupka - Podcast Production & Sound Editing
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