Heart disease is a common health issue for older pets. Approximately 75% of senior dogs and 10% of cats develop cardiac problems during their life. The best way to care for your pet with heart problems is to work closely with a veterinarian. Early detection and proper treatment can make a huge difference in the quality of life that your pet has. Even if your cat or dog isn't a senior they aren't immune to the disease and should be examined regularly for minor health issues that can lead to heart disease.
What causes cardiac problems in pets?
Cardiac issues in cats and dogs can be due to their breed, age, lifestyle, and weight. When a pet is born with a heart condition it is congenital, however, if they develop cardiac problems later in life, it is acquired. Having heart disease can lead to heart failure where their heart doesn't pump enough blood, which then leads to fluid in their lungs and abdomen. Cats and dogs may suffer from:
- Heart arrhythmias
- Heartworm disease
How to recognize heart disease in cats and dogs?
Without having a veterinarian examine your pet, it can be difficult to associate the signs with heart disease. If you see these signs in your pet, you should contact your veterinarian:
- Loss of appetite
- Increased reclusiveness
- Dry persistent cough
- Abdominal swelling
- Decreased energy or fainting
- Weight loss
- Difficulty breathing
To book a consultation for your pet, please call us at 780-428-8802.
What tests are done to diagnose heart disease in pets?
To accurately diagnose heart disease your veterinarian will perform different tests and a physical examination where they listen closely to the lungs. An X-ray scan and or echocardiogram are performed to assess the size of the heart and its valves. Using these tools our veterinarian can identify defects and in turn diagnose your pet. From there, we will determine if your pet needs surgery to repair valves or insert a pacemaker, medications to correct their heartbeats, or lifestyle changes to support the heart functioning properly.