Our pets have a lot of heart, and we love that about them. In fact, we want to do whatever we can to keep their hearts as healthy as possible. Canine heart disease is a little different from heart disease in people, though, so the best place to start is with a little understanding.
Evendale-Blue Ash Pet Hospital knows how much your pet means to you, and helping you understand canine heart disease is the least that we can do to help support that bond.
When Good Hearts Go Bad
Thankfully dogs are seldom affected by heart attack and stroke like we are. That doesn’t mean, however, that canine heart disease doesn’t happen. More commonly, dogs are affected by:
- Congenital heart problems (things that they were born with)
- Heartworm disease
- Heart valve dysfunction (such as mitral valve degeneration)
- Heart muscle problems (cardiomyopathy)
- Hypertension (high blood pressure)
Canine heart disease can manifest similarly to many other conditions. Heart problems often show up as decreased energy levels, heavy or quick breathing, coughing, fainting episodes, weight loss, decreased appetite, and sometimes a swollen abdomen.
Please schedule an appointment if your pet is exhibiting any of these signs. We will want to get right to work determining the cause. An exam, blood test, radiographs, ultrasound, and heart rhythm tracing (EKG) are likely in order.
Staying Ahead of Canine Heart Disease
Not all canine heart disease is preventable, but there is a lot that we can do to keep your dog healthy. Take matters into your own hands by:
- Encouraging activity every day (keep in mind your pet’s overall fitness).
- Helping your pet maintain a healthy weight.
- Make sure that your pet has a good, complete diet; at this time we are. discouraging the feeding of boutique, exotic ingredient, and grain-free foods due to the associated increased risk of dilated cardiomyopathy.
- Keep your pet on heartworm preventative year round.
- Bring your pet in for routine wellness examinations and recommended dental cleanings.
By doing these things we can help to minimize the chance that your dog will ever have heart-related issues.
Sometimes things happen despite our best efforts. If you’re worried about your pet’s cardiovascular health, it is important for us to investigate right away. The sooner that we can identify what is going on, the sooner we can get started helping your pet. Please let us know if you have concerns, we are here to help!