Canine Heart Disease
One of the most serious problems that your dog can develop is heart disease. It is especially a problem for older dogs. This disease causes various parts of the organ to function improperly. The remaining areas will be forced to work harder in order to make up for it. Owners should be aware that canine heart disease often leads to heart failure. This condition progresses slowly which makes the symptoms very hard to notice.
Heart disease in dogs can occur because of a birth defect. Other dogs develop the condition because of natural aging. It’s also possible than an infection or injury of some sort leads to the development of the disease.
As mentioned, your dog’s heart will need to start working harder to make up for the damaged parts. This reduced efficiency can cause problems with many different areas of the body. Therefore, canine heart disease can cause a wide range of symptoms.
As the heart begins to fail, the lungs will start accumulating fluid. When this happens, you’ll notice your dog coughing more than usual. As the disease progresses, loss of appetite, lethargy, and accelerated breathing will likely occur.
Your dog’s gums may also turn pale or blue. The stomach may also become enlarged. It’s also quite common for heart disease in dogs to cause fainting. Canine will also spend a great deal of time sleeping. Weight loss is also a common sign.
The veterinarian will need to use various methods in order to diagnose canine heart disease effectively. After noting your dog’s symptoms, he will perform a physical examination. This will include listening to your dog’s heart. Various procedure will also be employed such as electrocardiograms, ultrasounds, and echocardiograms.
It’s usually best that chest x-rays also be done. This will give the veterinarian a look at the shape and size of the heart. The x-rays will also show the condition of the lungs. In order to determine exactly what type of heart disease in dogs is the problem, further tests may need to be conducted.
After your canine friend has been diagnosed with heart disease, diuretics will need to be prescribed. They’ll help remove any fluids that have accumulated in the lungs. After the fluids are gone, your dog will stop coughing as much.
To help decrease the heart’s workload, medications will probably be given to increase the size of the blood vessels. If the heart is very damaged, anti-arrhythmics may also be given to keep abnormal beats from occurring.
Keeping the heart beating regularly is the main goal of treatment for heart disease in dogs. Making sure the proper amount of blood is pumped out is also important. This will help keep fluid from building up in the lungs again. Some dogs may require surgery to accomplish these goals.
At home, you may be required to switch your dog’s diet. You will certainly need to restrict the amount of salt your dog consumes. Adding supplements and vitamins will also help manage canine heart disease better.