Referral to a veterinary cardiologist is not simply about accessing a higher standard of echocardiography. Cardiologists have access to a huge amount of highly specific experience in managing cardiovascular diseases, which they can draw on to help your patient and their owner. Although the financial cost of a consultation is likely to be more than in a primary care practice, the experience of a cardiologist may actually be able to save money in the long-term by navigating the diagnostic tests available in a logical and efficient manner. Most cardiologists offer a service whereby they maintain contact with owners at a distance, and are happy to provide referring vets and owners with comprehensive long-term follow-up advice. In addition, cardiologists who have a good working relationship with other referral vets in medicine or neurology may be able to collaborate with them to service cases that do not have a primary heart disease, but may have respiratory pathology, systemic disease or a neurological / neuromuscular problem.
We would recommend contacting your local cardiologist for advice if required, and to discuss cases prior to referral if you are unsure how they can help or what more you can do in practice where referral might not be an option. Most centres are happy to provide free advice to primary vets in their region, or even nationwide.