Canine Heart Disease
Heart disease affects dogs as well as humans. While many dogs have an acquired heart defect or murmur at birth, many other canines develop heart problems when they are middle aged or older.
In dogs, two particular heart diseases have a tendency to occur. One difficulty that occurs is a problem with the heart valves of the dog which do not close effectively thus creating blood flow difficulties.
The other heart condition that is problematical occurs when the walls of the heart muscle in a dog’s heart lose their thickness and become weak and fragile. These occurrences take place over a period of time and can result in the animal having canine heart failure if untreated.
It is estimated that over 3 million dogs in the United States who are treated by veterinarians have an existing heart condition for which they are being treated.
If the heart is unable to pump blood to the body at the rate at which it is required an increased amount of pressure is placed on the heart to meet this requirement. As a consequence of this further harm can be done to the heart.
Dog Heart Symptoms
Heart diseases in dogs can be detected on examination by a veterinarian. In the early stages of heart disease, x-rays would show if the heart was enlarged. Other symptoms such as coughing, the dog laboring when breathing and a general sluggishness in the dogs mobility could be indicators of a developing or existing heart condition.
As with any other dog diseases, early detection of canine heart problems could prevent serious heart problems in the dog before it’s too late. Owners should therefore be encouraged to have their animals checked out at regular intervals by a veterinarian.
Regular exercise, good nutrition and a well balanced diet are important factors in keeping your dog’s heart healthy. A dog in good shape that has been well cared for and is in good condition will give its owner many years of happiness and companionship.