Heart disease in dogs is almost as common as it is in humans. A heart problem can affect your dog at any age although it is more often found in older dogs. There are many potential causes of canine heart disease and, depending on the severity of the disease, any form of heart disease can lead to heart failure.
What is Heart Failure?
Heart failure occurs when the heart no longer has the ability to pump blood around the body effectively. Some causes of heart failure include:
- Congenital heart disease (dogs born with a heart problem)
- Valvular heart disease (abnormalities of the valves of the heart)
- Heartworm disease,
- Arrythmias (rhythm disturbances).
Many heart problems can be identified on physical examination. Although, additional tests are usually required to correctly identify the cause. Additional tests include:
- EKGs (electrocardiograms)
- Radiographs (X-rays)
Heart disease is a serious life threatening condition but early diagnosis and appropriate therapy can extend your dog’s life. Some of the symptoms in dogs are:
- Tiring easily
- Pacing before bedtime and having a hard time settling down
- Coughing more than usual (during or after exercise or a few hours before bedtime)
- Having a hard time breathing or exercising
- As the disease gets worse, more symptoms may develop including:
- Fainting because of blocked blood flow to the brain
- A swollen chest from fluid build-up
- Weight loss as your dog loses their ability to store healthy fat
- Change in tongue or gum colour to bluish grey because of poor oxygen flow
Diagnosing Heart Disease
Our veterinarians diagnose cardiovascular disease by reviewing your dog’s medical history, conducting a physical examination, and interpreting the results of specific tests or imaging procedures.
Heart disease is a serious life threatening condition but early diagnosis and appropriate therapy can extend your dog’s life. If you are concerned about heat disease with your dog please don’t hesitate to reach out. Call or email to schedule your appointment today.