Dr. Fries is a clinical assistant professor of cardiology.
Are there any new procedures or treatment options you’re now using to treat patients?
Cardiology continues to refine the equipment we use for our procedures as technology for cardiology is rapidly growing. Our catheters are smaller and more affordable for our patients, as well as new types of cutting balloons, stents, and occluders. There is ongoing interest in veterinary patients and humans for mitral valve replacement. This is an area of research at this time, but we hope to see it used clinically in the next five to 10 years.
Tell us about your favorite type of species to treat and why.
I love treating dog, cats, and our large animal species as well (horses, cows, camelids). I would have to say some of my most rewarding patients are the puppies with congenital heart disease. It is a great feeling to give a puppy a new lease on life by correcting their heart condition and knowing they will have a lifetime with their family.
What are your hobbies? Is there something about you rDVMs would be surprised to learn?
My hobbies are running, cooking, and camping. People might be surprised to know that before I went to vet school, I lived in New York City for a year and worked as an actor.
Tell us about your background.
I am the youngest child in a family of five boys. I grew up in Chicago (Wrigleyville) and moved to South Bend, Ind., when I was in middle school. My parents tell me that even when I was very young I always said I wanted to be a veterinarian.
What are you looking forward to the most as your service grows?
I am excited to offer cardiology services year round and expand our research.
What have you been writing/speaking about recently?
I am finishing up a publication on use of the advanced imaging in dogs with heart disease. We compared the use of MRI, CT, and 3D echo in dogs. I also published a book with Dr. Maureen McMichael called Life-Threatening Cardiac Emergencies for the Small Animal Practitioner. It is a great reference book with nice examples of arrhythmias, heart failure, and drug charts.
What made you decide to be a veterinary cardiologist?
I find the challenge of heart disease very rewarding. It can be complicated and simple all at the same time. Cardiology has a lot of hands-on work with echocardiography and interventional procedures. And I have the best patients and clients around.
Tell us about a unique procedure you’re doing.
In the near future we will be exploring the benefits of cardiac MRI on dogs and cats with heart disease. There are so many things you learn about the heart when you perform an MRI that you just can’t tell from an echocardiogram or radiographs. We hope to make Illinois the center for veterinary cardiac MRI.