Cardiovascular Issues & Your Pets
Heart problems are surprisingly common in pets, especially dogs. Cases of heart disease vary in severity, however, the sooner we are able to diagnose and treat heart disease in your pet, the better. If caught early, we are often able to treat the symptoms of heart disease, allowing your pet to live a long, happy life. Heart disease is typically caused by an underlining health issue including an irregular heart rhythm (known as arrhythmia), a degeneration of a heart valve, or an issue with the heart muscle tissue. Some of these issues can be present at birth, while other animals develop heart disease later on in life for other reasons. Pet cardiology is a complicated practice, however, office specializes in animal cardiology and the diagnosis and treatment of heart disease in pets.
Common Signs of Animal Heart Disease
Diagnosing your pet’s heart disease early is the best chance we have for treating them successfully. The signs of heart disease often progress slowly, so it’s easy for them to go unnoticed. As a pet owner, understanding the signs of heart disease can be very helpful. Here are four common signs of heart disease in dogs and cats:
Coughing is one of the first signs of heart disease in dogs. Dogs can cough for many different reasons; however, a normal cough will typically subside within a few days. If that’s not the case with your pet, you should bring them in for an examination. Pets with heart disease will often develop a cough due to fluid accumulating in their longs. This fluid collects in the lungs when the heart isn’t working efficiently. This eventually leads to an enlarged heart which in turn puts pressure on your pet’s airways, causing them to cough.
Difficulty Breathing or Fainting
If you notice that your pet is struggling to breathe, it’s best to have them seen by a doctor as soon as possible. In some cases, it’s difficult for pet owners to tell whether or not their pet is having trouble breathing. Often pet owners may think that their dog is simply panting because they are hot or excited. In other cases, pets may begin sleeping in an unusual position, as they stretch their legs out in an effort to breath easier. In advanced cases, your pet may even faint as they are unable to get enough oxygen and blood flow to their brain due to their heart condition.
If your pet simply doesn’t seem to have the energy they usually do, or if you notice them sleeping much more than usual, it may be a sign of an underlying heart problem. Animals with heart disease will often become winded quickly into a walk or other normal activities.
Changes in Pet Behavior
Aside from their energy level, if your pet is acting out of the ordinary in any other way for more than a few days, you should seek the advice of a veterinarian. Animals with heart disease often stop eating as much as they normally would, or they no longer want to engage with their family in play or normal interactions. These behavior changes are typically a sign that your pet doesn’t feel well and needs to be seen by a doctor.
Diagnosis & Treatment
The prospect of your companion having heart disease is a scary thought, however, your pet is in the best possible hands when you bring them into All Pets Medical & Surgical Center. The signs of heart disease can often be associated with other health issues; however, our highly trained animal cardiologist have the medical expertise necessary to give your pet a proper diagnosis the first time, allowing us to quickly begin the proper treatment.
Diagnosing heart disease typically involves chest x-rays, an Echocardiogram or an Electrocardiogram (ECG). These tests allow us to exam your pet’s heart and determine any irregularities. And while heart disease is a very serious diagnosis, there are many different treatment options available to your pet and our dog cardiology specialists are well-versed in all of them. Through a change in diet, medication, and an adjustment to their daily activities, we can help your pet continue to live a full and happy life despite their disease. However, it’s important to remember that early detection is important. That’s why it’s a great idea to bring your pet in for a full examination at least once a year and always call us at the first signs of any changes in your pet’s breathing or behavior.