What we do

Veterinary Heart Care (VHC) works with your local veterinarian to diagnose and treat your pet with heart disease.

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Accessible to all pets

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Local referral appointments

Traditional appointments are offered in Virginia Beach within the emergency and referral practice BluePearl. After examining your pet, Dr. Maisenbacher will discuss his findings with you to determine the best treatment plan for you and your pet. These are typically scheduled by pet owners directly.

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Mobile consultations

Mobile consultations are available at local veterinary practices across the Hampton Roads area. Dr. Maisenbacher reviews the findings with your veterinarian who will then discuss the results with you and manage the treatment plan. These must be scheduled by your veterinarian's office.

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Our Team


Herbert W. Maisenbacher, III

Dr. Herb Maisenbacher is board certified in veterinary cardiology by the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine.

He graduated from the University of Pennsylvania and then completed an internship at the Animal Medical Center in New York City and a residency in veterinary cardiology at the University of Florida.

Prior to founding VHC in 2013, Dr. Maisenbacher was a Clinical Assistant Professor at the University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine and was named Small Animal Clinician of the Year in 2012. He has authored many research articles on veterinary cardiology and has contributed to several veterinary textbooks.


Tina Chafin

Client services manager

Tina is the first person you're likely to meet when you contact VHC.

When Tina is not helping clients, she can be found assisting Julie and Dr. Maisenbacher.

She has worked in the veterinary field since 2002, earning a B.S. in Biology from ODU in 2001.


Julie Hogan

Patient services coordinator

Julie is an experienced veterinary assistant and is currently completing her veterinary technology degree.

Julie has worked in the veterinary field since 2002, holding positions from receptionist and assistant to veterinary services manager for the Norfolk SPCA.


What is a cardiologist?

Similar to human medicine, a veterinary cardiologist is a specialist trained to diagnose and treat heart conditions in animals. Board certified veterinary cardiologists receive several years of advanced training in a residency program and pass extensive certifying examinations after graduating from veterinary school. A veterinary cardiologist can help provide the best care for animals with heart disease, but they do not offer all of the services of a primary veterinarian. For this reason, it is important to continue to see your local veterinarian for preventative care and other health concerns.

How common is heart disease?

Just like people, animals can get heart disease. About 1 in 10 dogs have heart disease and up to 1 in 6 cats have heart disease. Heart disease is more common in some breeds of cats and dogs, so routine screening may be recommended. Heart disease can be present at birth (congenital) or can happen in older pets. Early diagnosis and treatment of heart disease can help your pet live a longer and more active life.

What is a mobile consultation?

Mobile consultations are available at local veterinary clinics. During these consultations, Dr. Maisenbacher reviews your pet’s records, performs a physical exam, echocardiogram and any other necessary tests. The findings and recommendations are discussed directly with your veterinarian and a complete report is provided. Your veterinarian will then discuss the treatment plan with you and will continue to manage the care of your pet with assistance from Dr. Maisenbacher as needed. Due to state laws governing the practice of veterinary medicine, Dr. Maisenbacher cannot make specific treatment recommendations to pet owners or prescribe medications during mobile consultations. Mobile consultations must be scheduled through your primary veterinarian’s office.

Why choose us?

Veterinary Heart Care (VHC) is a small specialty practice with just one veterinarian. As such, it is geared towards efficiency, comfort, empathy and compassion for both you and your pet. We know that your pet is a loved member of your family, therefore we strive to provide the best care through either mobile consultations or traditional appointments. VHC works with your local veterinarian to diagnose and treat your pet with heart disease. We are able to perform specialized cardiovascular diagnostic tests and treatments that may not typically be available at your local veterinarian making cardiac specialty medicine accessible to all animals.

How do I know if my pet has heart disease?

Signs that your pet might have heart disease include: coughing, rapid and difficulty breathing, loss of appetite, low energy, abdominal swelling, weakness or fainting. Sometimes your local veterinarian can hear a heart murmur without other signs of heart disease.

What is a referral appointment?

Traditional referral appointments are available in Yorktown and Virginia Beach. During these appointments Dr. Maisenbacher will review your pet’s medical history, perform a physical exam and recommended tests often including an echocardiogram. He will discuss the results of all tests directly with you to determine the best treatment plan for you and your pet. Dr. Maisenbacher will manage the care of your pet’s heart disease, often prescribing medications, and will collaborate with your veterinarian throughout your pet’s care.

Common conditions we treat

Myxomatous valve disease

Myxomatous valve disease is the most common type of heart disease in dogs. It is also sometimes referred to as endocardiosis and degenerative or chronic valve disease. It is caused by progressive, age-related degeneration of the heart valves. The mitral valve is most commonly affected, but other valves including the tricuspid and aortic valves may also be affected. The valves become abnormally thickened and no longer form a tight seal when they are supposed to be closed and preventing backflow of blood. This causes the valves to leak called “regurgitation” or “insufficiency”, which is a frequent cause of an abnormal sound called a heart murmur.

Dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM)

Dilated cardiomyopathy is a disease of the heart muscle in which the muscle is weakened and loses its ability to contract normally. In DCM, the heart's ability to pump blood is decreased and the main pumping chamber, the left ventricle, becomes enlarged or “dilated”. This is most common in certain breeds of dog such as Doberman pinschers, Great Danes, Irish wolfhounds, and Newfoundlands.

Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM)

Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy is a disease of the heart muscle in which the muscular walls of the heart become abnormally thickened. The thickened heart muscle cannot relax normally and the ability of the heart to fill is reduced. This decreases the amount of blood that can be pumped by the heart. HCM is the most common heart disease in cats.

Congestive heart failure

Congestive heart failure is a chronic progressive condition that can be caused my many types of heart disease. In congestive heart failure, there is a decreased amount of blood pumped by the heart and blood backs up into the lungs with left heart disease or into the body with right heart disease. This leads to fluid building up in the lungs, chest, and/or abdomen.

Where are we?


364 S Independence Blvd,
Virginia Beach, VA 23452