Unlike ailments you can see, such as sores or swelling, heart disease
is a silent killer of pets as well as humans. People have no way of knowing that their pet might have heart disease unless a regular checkup at the vet catches the problem. Heart disease, left untreated, can cause your dog everything from being inactive to death.
Some signs that your dog might have heart disease include coughing, wheezing, lack of energy, edema, abdominal bloating or poor circulation. Some people take their dog to the vet for one of these problems, only to discover that the dog actually has heart disease. If the problem is detected early enough, though, there are treatments and medications that can help.
Heart worm, one of the leading causes of heart disease, is treated as a matter of preventive measure by most vets, so be sure that your dog is receiving regular heart worm treatments. Other things that lead towards heart disease include obesity, lack of exercise and poor diet. Should your dog begin coughing after exercising, or seems more tired than usual, schedule an appointment for him to be examined.
Certain breeds of dogs are more likely to develop particular heart problems. For example, cocker spaniels, poodles, schnauzers, dachshunds, chihuahuas, and pomeranians are most likely to develop heart murmur. Congenital heart problems are more likely to take place with collies, shepherds, bulldogs, pointers, and Irish setters.
Should your dog be diagnosed with heart disease the first test that is done will eliminate the possibility of heart worm. Secondly a blood test is often done and a screening to see if the heart disease is in association with other ailments like kidney or liver diseases.
A radiograph is done to see if the heart has enlarged and to locate any existing tumors. It also helps to discover fluid around the heart or in the lungs. EKG is performed to check for blocks and can also indicate enlargement of the heart.
Heart disease is more common in dogs than people realize. Be sure to give your dog a lean diet, heart worm medicine, and plenty of exercise. Have regular checkups at the vet to detect any problems that might be present.