Just like humans, dogs can develop heart problems too. Being a pet owner you need to know about dog heart problems, its symptoms, and treatments so that you can provide the best care possible for your pet dog.
The thing to worry about dog heart problems is that it can lead to heart failure. It is a case where the dog’s heart fails to pump blood throughout the body. Heart diseases can take years to spot, so it is imperative to know about the causes of canine heart diseases and the symptoms via which you can identify them.
What causes heart diseases in dogs?
There could be many causes behind dog heart diseases. It could be congenital – which is a heart defect by birth or it could be due to old age, infection or injury. Studies have shown that dog obesity is another factor causing heart diseases in dogs.
- Frequent and rough coughing usually during or after exercise.
- Heavy and frequent panting; breathing difficulty during walking or playing.
- Always tired
- Restlessness before bedtime
The dog may develop more advanced symptoms if the disease worsens:
- Fluid buildup in the belly causing it to swell
- Fainting episodes
- Bluish grey tongue or gum color
- Severe weight loss
What tests your vet may run to check your dog’s heart condition?
Your vet would ask about your pet dog’s diet, medications or any existing history of heartworms. Based on your answers and the symptoms that you mention, they will do the following tests:
- Blood and urine test.
- Comprehensive chest X-rays with low doses of radiation.
- EKG to check heart rhythm and functioning of the arteries.
- Ultrasound or Echo to check heart size and muscle movement.
- Heartworm antigen test.
- Holter monitor to measure your dog’s heart rhythm for 1 or 2 days.
What treatment can you expect?
The treatment will depend on your dog’s specific heart problem. Based on the diagnosis, your vet may recommend one or more treatment plans mentioned below:
- Heart medication to treat irregular heart rhythm.
- Medication to prevent fluid build-up in lungs or to slow down the fluid build-up.
- If there is an injury, a surgery would be done.
- Surgery for valve repair or to place a pacemaker.
- Diet changes to lower sodium intake.
- Exercise or activity schedule to help condition your dog’s heart.
The vet may also suggest lifestyle changes for your dog along with heart supplements. If your dog is diagnosed with a heart condition, make sure to visit your vet on monthly basis for a checkup and updated treatment plan. With the right treatment, timely checkups and regular monitoring; heart diseases in dogs can be managed and they can live a comfortable life.
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