Your Dog and Heart Disease — Easy Prevention, Common Symptoms, and Treatment Options
This post is an excerpt from my next book that focuses on senior dog care. It is untitled at this time.
With over 8 million dogs getting heart diseases with dire complications, this topic is critical to many dog owners. This article will explain easy prevention, the common symptoms, and the current treatment options for your dog and heart disease.
Of course, if you suspect your dog may have heart disease, it is best to have it confirmed by your veterinarian and follow current medical advice as we are learning more on this subject daily.
What is Dogs heart disease?
This is any condition that affects the dog’s blood vessels, heart valves, and muscles that interrupt the dogs’ quality of life and, to some extent, impairs their daily routine activities.
Most common types of Dogs heart diseases
There are two broad categories of a dog’s heart disease. This include:
This is a general term used to describe a range of congenital disabilities a dog is born with that typically affects the heart’s normal function. These conditions may be inherited or caused by infections or environmental exposure during birth. Some of the congenital heart ailments of a dog include;
Pulmonic stenosis-characterized by narrowing of the pulmonary artery, which leads to reduced blood flow from the heart to the lungs of a dog. Labrador Retrievers, English Bulldogs, Beagles, and Chow Chows are at a high risk of developing this condition.
Patent ductus arteriosus(PDA)-This condition is caused by failure of the ductus arteriosus muscle to close, leaving an opening between the dog’s heart septum where both oxygenated and deoxygenated blood mix. It always causes left-sided heart failure, leading to congestive heart failure in which a dog’s life expectancy is typically 6–9 months after diagnosis. Shetland Sheepdog, English Springer Spaniel, and Maltese breeders are among the high-risk dog breeds to develop PDA.
Making up 95% of heart diseases in dogs is heart conditions that develop during a dog’s life. It may be caused by diet, obesity, or a dog’s age — or a combination of these factors. Below is a list of the most common acquired heart diseases in dogs.
Dilated cardiomyopathy mainly affects middle-aged dogs’ heart muscles, making the dog’s heart muscle degenerate and become thin, thus impairing its heart function. Cocker spaniel, Great Dane, and Boxer dog breeds are more predisposed to this cardiac condition than other dogs.
Degenerative heart valve disease primarily affects the mitral valve, with the disease progressing for a long time without showing any symptoms. It may affect a dog at an early age of 4–6 years. Miniature Schnauzers, Dachshunds, and Whippets breeds are the most predisposed to this heart ailment.
Signs and symptoms of a dog that has heart disease include
• Sudden weight loss
• Dry coughing-especially during the night and after engaging inactivity
• The accumulation of fluids causes swelling of the abdomen
• Easy fatiguability
Preventing Heart diseases in dogs
About 95% of dogs’ heart disease is usually acquired. This means that you can lower the risk of your dog getting a heart illness through regular exercise, routine checkups by a veterinarian cardiologist, and giving your dog a healthy diet.
All you need to do is;
• Feed your dog a healthy diet
• Regularly exercise your dog
• Regular checkups with a certified veterinary cardiologist
-Keep your dogs mouth and teeth healthy.
Treatment of heart disease in dogs include;
• Administration of drugs -beta-blockers and Angiotensin-converting enzymes inhibitors
• Diet modification
• Weight loss therapy
• Surgery-usually the last option of treatment
If your dog is diagnosed with heart disease, it can usually be managed effectively. I have several clients with senior dogs that have been diagnosed with heart disease, take medication daily, and live happy, normal lives. Many survive several years after their diagnosis of heart disease.