Have a heart: help your pet to a healthy heart
The world would be a happier place if we all had hearts of dogs. Showering lots of love, forgiving easily, and holding no grudges, that’s what dogs teach us. But just like you take care of the health of your heart, it is essential to take care of your pooch’s heart health as well.
There are various heart problems that are seen in dogs and few are discussed below.
Humans usually suffer from coronary artery disease which is caused due to a bad diet and lack of physical activity. Dogs don’t suffer from this heart disease. Instead they are affected by congestive heart failure. This is a progressive decrease in the heart’s ability to pump blood. We all know that it is the heart that transports oxygen rich blood to the entire body, and when your pooch’s heart is affected there are high chances that various other organs can also be adversely affected. If not treated on time, heart diseases in dogs can be fatal.
It is important to know that heart disease and heart failure are two separate things. Heart failure is the result of heart disease. Timely diagnosis, healthy lifestyle, medications and lots of love can improve the quality of life of heart patients, so let’s not panic.
The main cause of heart disease in dogs is acquired heart disease. This is most commonly seen in middle age and old dogs. The other causes can be – injury, normal wear and tear, and infection.
The possibility of congenital heart problems (dogs born with defects in their heart) cannot be ruled out, although it is a rare case.
Symptoms of heart diseases
- Continuous coughing for more than 3 days
- Breathing problems – rapid breathing, breathlessness
- Loss of appetite
- Behavior change – being reluctant, feeling sad and depressed
- Sudden weight loss or weight gain
- Weakness and lethargy
- Being restless at night
- Swollen belly
Keep an eye out for these symptoms and if you notice anything unusual talk to your vet immediately. Early diagnosis can be the difference.
Diagnosis and Treatment
In most cases, your vet would do a series of tests including blood and urine test, x-rays, echocardiogram, or Doppler echocardiogram.
The treatment depends on various factors like age, severity of the illness, and medical history.
Medications can help keep irregular heartbeats in check. Surgery is an alternative to inset pacemaker or repair the heart valves. Apart from the medications, the vet might recommend some health supplements like multivitamins and antioxidants. He/she may also suggest certain lifestyle changes for your pet like low salt diet to decrease fluid build-up in body, limited activity or weight loss activity to keep your pet’s weight under control etc.
What can you do to prevent an occurrence?
- Make sure your pet eats healthy.
- A treat once a while is okay, but table scraps are a strict no-no.
- Go for a run with your pet, it’ll be greatly beneficial for both of you.
- Visiting the vet might be stressful, but it is for your pet’s wellness. Don’t skip vet visits.
- Don’t indulge in any activity that might cause stress and anxiety to your pet.
And of course shower them with lots of affection, pamper them, and let them be a spoilt baby sometimes.