Cardiology: Extraordinary Vets for Extraordinary Pets

Performing the largest number of cardiac interventional procedures in the UK, Willows’ Specialist Cardiology team are exceptionally proud to be delivering some of the very best clinical outcomes in the world.

Supported by a dedicated Cardiology nursing team providing round the clock care and support, our Cardiologists work together with our team of Specialists across 13 disciplines to ensure the best possible care for each and every patient.

The symptoms of coughing, breathing difficulties or fatigue on exercise can all be attributed to either heart or lung disease.

Due to the nature of such conditions patients with cardiac and/or respiratory problems will require prompt investigation and treatment. At Willows we aim to see urgent Cardiology patients the same day and our Specialists are happy to provide telephone advice to Veterinary Surgeons on the management of cardiac cases.


What can I Expect if my Pet is Referred to a Cardiology Specialist?

The starting point for each patient presented to a member of the Cardiology team at Willows is a detailed consultation and discussion with the owner. Diagnosing the cause of cardiac signs often necessitates further investigations. Willows has access to state-of-the art cardiac diagnostic facilities including the very latest ultrasound, ECG, digital radiography, computerised tomography (CT scanning), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI scanning) and fluoroscopy facilities.


What are the Most Common Cardiac Conditions?

At Willows we deal with a wide variety of cardiac problems in both dogs and cats. The most common conditions encountered include; heart murmurs, irregular rhythms and difficulties breathing. The most common causes of heart murmurs treated at Willows are mitral valve disease (a leak of one of the heart valves) and congenital heart disease (conditions young animals are born with). Our team also specialise in the management of cats with heart conditions which require a different approach to their canine counterparts. As part of our commitment to the excellent care of cats, Willows is officially accredited by International Cat Care (iCatCare) as a Gold level Cat Friendly Clinic.

Our Specialist Cardiology team see and treat a wide range of patients including those with or requiring:

  • Arrhythmia (abnormal heart rhythm / skipped beats / missed beats)
  • Cardiomyopathy (valve disease)
  • ECG (electrocardiograph)
  • Echocardiography (heart scan)
  • Fainting (collapse / dizzy spells / syncope)
  • Heart failure
  • Heart tumour (cancer)
  • Holter monitor
  • Pacemaker
  • Pericardial effusion (Cardiac tamponade)
  • Murmur
  • Weak pulses
  • PDA closure (Patent ductus arteriosus)
  • Balloon dilatation of PS (Pulmonic stenosis, and other conditions)

What Facilities are Available at Willows?

Cardiac surgery requires very high levels of expertise and aseptic technique in order to minimise the possibility of postoperative infection. At Willows we have one of the most advanced cardiac facilities in Europe enabling our Specialist Cardiologists to perform investigations and surgeries to the highest level to achieve the best possible outcome for your pet. Our Cardiologists are supported by a highly trained and caring team of Veterinary Nurses who play an essential role in rehabilitating patients following the diagnosis of heart disease.

Meet The Team

Simon Swift

RCVS & European Specialist in Small Animal Cardiology

Head of Cardiology

Simon Swift graduated from Cambridge University and started working in mixed animal practice before moving to small animal practice.  He quickly developed a fascination for Cardiology and was awarded the RCVS Certificate in Cardiology in 1990.

He became the advisor for the UK Cavalier King Charles spaniel club advising them on degenerative valve disease from 1990 to 2014.  He then became a partner in large small animal practice in Manchester accepting referrals in Cardiology. Simon obtained his European Diploma in Cardiology following an alternative residency program at Liverpool University before moving into private referral practice in the UK.

In 2014, Simon moved back into academia to teach at the University of Florida where he was Service Chief of Cardiology, Associate Editor of JVIM and a Medical Director. He also led the development of an open heart program to perform mitral valve repair surgery in association with the team at the Jasmine Clinic in Japan lead by Dr Uechi.

Simon moved back to the UK in 2021 with his wife, Lisa, a ball obsessed border collie called Milly and a large ex-research cat, Florence.

Simon is excited by the opportunity to help patients, clients and referring Vets in his new role as Head of Cardiology Willows.

Fabio Sarcinella

DVM MRCVS DipECVIM-CA (Cardiology)

RCVS & European Specialist in Small Animal Cardiology

Fabio graduated from Bologna University (Italy) in 2012. After graduation, he undertook a small animal Cardiology externship at the University of Liverpool. Fabio then went on to complete a 12-month rotating internship in small animal medicine at Rutland House Referrals. Following this, he worked in general practice for almost two years, further developing his interest in Cardiology. In 2016 he was appointed a Resident in Small Animal Cardiology at the University of Liverpool. Fabio then went on to work as a Cardiology Clinician in a private referral practice before becoming a European Specialist in Veterinary Cardiology. Fabio joined Willows Veterinary Centre and Referral Service in 2021.

Fabio enjoys all aspects of medical and interventional Cardiology. His main interest is in congenital heart disease and performing minimally invasive procedures to treat these defects, feline cardiomyopathies and arrhythmias. 

Outside work, Fabio loves spending time with his young family and is always busy finding new ways to entertain his two children. He also enjoys watching and participating in sports (mostly basketball) and cooking Italian cuisine (with variable results).

Siddharth Sudunagunta

BVetMed CertAVP(VC) AHEA DipECVIM-CA(Cardiology)

European & RCVS Specialist in Small Animal Cardiology

Sid graduated from the Royal Veterinary College in 2011 and spent a few years working in general practice before pursuing Cardiology. Sid joined The University of Liverpool in 2016, first as a cardiology intern, then a resident, completing his residency in 2020. During this time, he completed the Certificate of Advanced Veterinary Practice in Cardiology. In March 2021, he passed his European College of Veterinary Internal Medicine certifying examinations in Cardiology to achieve Diplomate status.

Sid is particularly interested in minimally-invasive interventional radiology procedures for managing and treating congenital and acquired cardiac diseases. He is also interested in teaching, and in April 2020, he successfully submitted a portfolio to achieve the Associate of the Higher Education Authority qualification. Sid’s research interests include canine pulmonary hypertension and congenital heart disease.

Outside of work, Sid enjoys playing poker. He has two cats, Havoc and Otter.


Find out more

To assist owners in understanding more about the conditions related to and treatments available for patients with heart and lung problems, we have put together a range of information sheets to talk you through the some of the more common cardiology conditions seen by our Specialists.