Heart Disease In Dogs: Symptoms To Look Out For
Man’s best friend has always been seen as an animal with a huge heart. They’re loyal, loving, playful creatures who are always happy to see their protective owners. It’s been proven once and again how beneficial dogs can be to human physical and emotional health. But dogs of any age and breed can develop serious heart problems. The good news is that there are many ways to help prevent and treat heart disease in dogs.
Firstly, to understand how to spot heart disease, it is vital to know what heart disease is and how it can manifest itself in our furry friends. The heart is the most vital of vital organs, pumping nutrient and oxygen-filled blood around the body to the other organs. Heart disease in dogs occurs when one of two different conditions strikes, ultimately decreasing the effectivity of the heart.
The two conditions are the following:
- Chronic Valvular Disease – A leaking heart valve reduces the quantity of blood being pumped around the body.
- Myocardial Disease – The thickening of the heart walls leads the muscle to pump less efficiently.
Fortunately, these diseases can be helped with lifestyle factors and sometimes medication, such as a dog heart supplement. If you think your dog could be at risk of heart disease, do not despair. Once you have the right information and treatment from your vet, he or she can continue to live a healthy, happy life with a heart condition.
What Causes Heart Problems in Dogs?
Unfortunately, there is no single known cause of heart issues for dogs. Various aspects of a dog’s life and even genetics can contribute to heart problems. The following are some of the most common factors influencing a dog’s heart health.
● Nutrition – It is vital to ensure your dog has a balanced diet using top-quality dog food. Cheap dog foods lack several key nutrients that aid in the development of a healthy heart.
● Aging – Heart conditions are more frequent in older dogs.
● Body Condition – The breed of dog is important to consider when discussing heart issues due to their size. Smaller and larger breeds, as opposed to medium-sized dogs, tend to be more likely to experience heart conditions in their lifetimes. Additionally, the weight of your dog is fundamental to a healthy lifestyle. Overweight dogs are also more prone to heart disease.
Heartworm disease is a serious condition that can be fatal. Spread through mosquito bites, heartworm is a parasitic worm that fully develops inside the dog within their heart and lungs. It can cause lung disease and heart failure. Preventative measures are highly recommended by vets.
How To Tell If A Dog Has Heart Disease
Although it can be difficult to tell if a dog has a heart condition, there are certain symptoms to be on the lookout for. There are also tests that can be realized by a veterinarian.
The main symptoms that you should look out for at home are:
● Fatigue, lack of energy
● Fainting or collapsing
● Breathing difficulties
● Reduced appetite or weight changes
● Changes in tongue or gum color to a bluish-gray
● Pacing before bedtime
● Swelling in the abdomen
● Reduced ability to exercise
Some of these symptoms may be seen early on whereas others will only develop as heart disease worsens over time.
When you decide to see a vet, it is vital that you inform them of all of their symptoms. You should also mention any lifestyle changes that your dog has undergone in recent weeks or months. Medical professionals should be well informed so that they can decide on the best course of action.
Tests that a vet can perform to identify heart problems include:
● Listening through a stethoscope for murmurs or fluid in the lungs
● Checking for an unusual pulse or palpitations
● X-rays to check the size of the heart for enlargement
● EKG to identify heart rhythms
● Blood and urine tests
Remember, even if your four-legged pal shows signs of heart problems, it is likely not to be life-threatening. With the proper nutrition, exercise, and occasionally medication, he or she will probably continue to be by your side for a long time.