Matters of the Heart

What do you need to know about heart disease in dogs?

Heart disease is an unfortunate but tolerable condition for your dog. The heart is the most important organ in your dog’s body. It pumps blood containing oxygen and nutrients through the blood vessels to the cells of the body. Most heart conditions involve a decrease in the effective pumping of blood.

There are two main types of heart conditions: one affecting the heart valve and the other the heart muscle. Dogs with either type can be successfully managed through nutrition, exercise and, if necessary, medication. With the right dog food and advice from your veterinarian, your dog can continue to enjoy a happy, active life.

What causes heart disease?
Although there is no single cause, nutritional problems can play a major role in heart conditions. Aging is the most common reason dogs develop heart conditions, but other factors like heartworm can also lead to heart disease.

  • Other factors that can contribute include:
    Body condition: Overweight dogs are more likely to develop heart disease.
  • Age: Heart conditions in dogs occur more frequently with increasing age.
  • Breed: In dogs, chronic valvular disease is more common in small breeds such as miniature poodles, cocker spaniels, Pomeranians and schnauzers. Myocardial disease is more common in large and giant breeds like Great Danes and Irish wolfhounds.

How can I recognize the symptoms?
Early diagnosis and treatment can make all the difference when it comes to heart disease and your dog. As a dog-owner, you should be aware of the signs of heart disease so that you can bring it to your veterinarian’s attention as soon as possible.

Here are the most common symptoms of heart disease:
1. Coughing is a very common symptom of many illnesses, one of those being heart disease. Minor coughs will not last more
than a few days. If after three days your dog is still coughing, or is experiencing other symptoms, seek veterinary care.
2. Difficulty Breathing: Changes in breathing relating to heart disease may include difficulty breathing due to shortness of breath, labored breathing, or rapid breathing.
3. Changes in Behavior: If you notice behavior changes in your dog, such as tiring more easily, being less playful, reluctance to exercise, reluctance to accept affection, being withdrawn, or an appearance of depression, these are all signs of heart disease.
4. Weight Loss or Gain: Weight loss is definitely a symptom of heart disease, though weight gain can be as well. More likely than weight gain is a bloated or distended abdomen, giving your dog a potbellied appearance.
5. Fainting/Collapsing: If your dog faints or collapses at any time, seek veterinary help. It may be a sign of many different serious
illnesses, heart disease being one of them.
6. Restlessness: If your dog gets restless, especially at night, it may have heart disease.
7. Edema/Swelling: Edema is the swelling of body tissues. In regards to heart disease, your dog may show swelling in the abdomen and extremities if it has heart disease.

Important: A heart condition may not be obvious in the early stages. If you are in any doubt about your dog’s health or you notice any of the symptoms above, consult your veterinarian.

Share this story, choose your platform!

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on pinterest
Share on tumblr
Share on google
Share on linkedin
Share on reddit
Share on vk
Share on email
About the author:

Leave a Comment

7 Helpful Tips for Moms Returning to Work

Returning to work is a challenge for most new moms. Besides leaving your little one alone for the first time, you also need to face going back to your work routine. Many doubts can start popping in your mind. Thoughts such as “Can I do this?”, “Will my child be okay without me?”, “Will I

Read More »

Deep Rejuvenation

A visit to Thao Dien’s traditional Thai spa Leelawadee provides an array of therapeutic treatments sure to leave you feeling revitalized Leelawadee Thai Therapy Thao Dien was opened a few years ago at 5/19 Duong 64 in Thao Dien by Mimi Noita, a native of Thailand with a desire to bring traditional Thai massage therapy

Read More »

Using Technology to Help You Take Care of Your Aging Parents

Technology has made life easy by offering solutions to pretty everything that we need. With just an app, you can open your door even if you are far from home. With thermostats, you can save massive amounts of electricity since they adjust the house temperature throughout the day. The caregiving sector has not been left

Read More »

Escapist Therapy

How reading science fiction can build resilience in kids Young people who are hooked on watching fantasy or reading science fiction may be on to something. Contrary to a common misperception that reading this genre is an unworthy practice, reading science fiction and fantasy may help young people cope, especially with the stress and anxiety

Read More »

Demystifying Coronavirus

Read more on what we know about COVID-19 including understanding the disease and addressing some of the fears and concerns Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that infect mostly animals, although a few of them have spread to humans as well. The infections they cause can range from mild to severe. The most common

Read More »

108 Sun Salutations Challenge

Celebrating spring equinox while also giving back to the local community The sun sits low in the sky, the morning air is still cool. People begin to arrive, yoga mats over their shoulders, hair still wet from the shower and water bottles or coffee cups in their hands. An altar is set up at the

Read More »