Heart disease is a common health issue among dogs, just like in humans. Two of the most common types of heart disease in dogs are mitral valve disease and dilated cardiomyopathy. If you suspect that your dog may be suffering from heart disease, take them to a veterinarian ASAP. An appropriate evaluation is necessary for a proper diagnosis and treatment plan.
Symptoms of Heart Disease in Dogs
Symptoms of heart disease in dogs can include coughing, exercise intolerance, difficulty breathing, fatigue, and rapid breathing. These symptoms are often mistaken for signs of old age. It’s important to have your dog evaluated by a veterinarian if you notice any of these symptoms.
Diagnosis of Canine Heart Disease
To diagnose heart disease in dogs, a veterinarian will perform a physical examination, including listening to the heart and lungs. Additional tests such as X-rays, electrocardiography (ECG), echocardiography, and blood tests may also be performed. Its is important to confirm the diagnosis and determine the severity of the disease.
The treatment of heart disease in dogs can vary depending on the severity of the disease. Medications such as diuretics, ACE inhibitors, and pimobendan help manage symptoms and improve heart function. In more severe cases, surgical interventions such as mitral valve repair or replacement may be necessary. Additionally, dietary changes and exercise restrictions may also be recommended to help manage the disease.
Impact on Life Span
The life span of a dog with heart disease can vary depending on the severity of the disease and the effectiveness of treatment. With proper treatment and management, some dogs can live relatively normal lives for several years after diagnosis. However, in more severe cases or if left untreated, heart disease can significantly shorten a dog’s lifespan.
Role of Diet and Exercise
Diet and exercise can play a role in the treatment of heart disease in dogs. A specific diet may be recommended for your dog, which may include limiting sodium intake to help reduce fluid buildup in the body. Exercise may need to be restricted or modified to prevent overexertion and reduce the risk of complications. Your veterinarian can provide specific recommendations for your dog’s diet and exercise based on their individual needs and condition.
Heart disease is a serious health issue for dogs, but with proper diagnosis and treatment, many dogs can live relatively normal lives. If you suspect that your dog may be suffering from heart disease, it’s important to take them to a veterinarian as soon as possible. With the right treatment plan and management, you can help ensure that your dog has the best possible quality of life.
Veterinary cardiology is a recognized specialty within veterinary medicine that focuses on the diagnosis and treatment of heart disease in animals, including dogs. Canine cariologists have additional training and education beyond veterinary school. They may also be board-certified in cardiology by the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine (ACVIM) or the European College of Veterinary Internal Medicine (ECVIM).
Veterinary cardiologists diagnosis and treat a wide range of cardiac conditions, including congenital heart defects, valvular heart disease, arrhythmias, heart failure, and more. If your dog has a heart condition, your primary care veterinarian may refer you to a veterinary cardiologist for further evaluation and treatment.
For more info on canine valvular disease:
Thanks to FreeClipArt.com for cartoon of canine EKG.
Thanks to Pixabay for older dog photo