Chris Orton

Helen D. Van Dyke Chair, Interventional Cardiology and Cardiac Surgery, Professor Clinical Sciences


About Chris

Dr. Orton joined the surgical faculty at Colorado State University in 1983. After completing a fellowship in the cardiology department at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center, he realized that there was a need to establish a specialty service focusing on cardiology and cardiac surgery for small animals. The cardiology team performed their first open heart surgery in a dog in 1991. Dr. Orton's current clinical practice is focused on cardiac surgery and interventions for treating valvular heart disease and congenital heart defects in animals and people. When not practicing, he is an avid cyclist. He enjoys traveling and riding his bicycle in different parts of the world.


PhD, Colorado State University, 1989Doctor of Veterinary Medicine, Washington State University, 1978Master of Science, Ohio State University, 1982Bachelor of Science, Oregon State University, 1974


Diplomate, American College of Veterinary Surgeons
Honorary Diplomate, American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine (Cardiology)


Potter BM, Orton EC, Chi IJB, Scansen BA, Abbott-Johnson KM, Shaub ET, Visser LC, Ross ES, Del Nero B, Tantisuwat L, Rezende ML, Mama K. Feasibility Clinical study of transcatheter edge-to-edge mitral valve repair in dogs with the canine mitral V-Clamp device. J Vet Cardiol, 2023Potter BM, Scansen BA, Gagnon AL, Orton EC. Trifoliate left atrioventricular valve with and without intact septum: echocardiographic findings and surgical repair in four dogs. J Vet Cardiol 41:70-78, 2022Gagnon AL, Scansen BA, Olver C, Shropshire S, Hess A, Orton EC. Phase I clinical trial of an antithrombotic drug protocol combining apixaban and clopidogrel in dogs. J Vet Cardiol 36:105-114, 2021Sutherland BJ, Pierce KV, Heffner GG, Scansen BA, Miller MW, Grey P, Orton EC, Surgical repair for canine tricuspid valve dysplasia: technique and case report. J Vet Cardiol 33:34-42, 2021Sutherland BJ, Pierce KV, Gagnon AL, Scansen BA, Orton EC. Dilatable pulmonary artery banding for ventricular septal defect: surgical technique and case report of three cats. J Vet Cardiol 25:32-40, 2019Orton EC. Epicardial pacemaker implantation in small animals. J Vet Cardiol 22:65-71, 2019Lacerda CMR, Kisiday J, Johnson B, Orton EC. Local serotoinin mediates tensile strain-induced phenotype transformation and matrix alteration in cultured mitral valves. Am J Physiol: Heart & Circ 302:H1983-H1990, 2012Orton, EC, Lacerda CMR, MacLea HB. Signaling pathways in mitral valve degeneration. J Vet Cardiol 14:7-17, 2012

Research Specialty

Small Animal Exclusive/Predominant (including pet exotics)Understanding the pathobiology and development of new treatments for valvular heart disease in animals and people