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Signs of heart problems in dogs

Signs of heart problems in dogs

As a pet owner, it's crucial to recognize the early signs of heart problems in dogs, a common internal medicine condition. Our vets at San Mateo have listed below the most common symptoms of heart problems in dogs to help you seek prompt treatment for your furry friend.

Your Dog's Heart

The heart is a vital organ that can affect other organs if it falls ill. Detecting heart problems is challenging and often only possible at a later, more severe stage. However, dog owners should know the symptoms of heart problems. Some dog breeds are more susceptible to heart problems than others, so it's crucial to research breed-specific health issues before buying a dog. This will help you prepare for any potential health complications that your dog may encounter.

Common Signs of Heart Problems to Watch For

Heart problems in dogs present symptoms that are comparable to what humans experience. Nevertheless, dogs are unable to communicate their feelings, which makes it our responsibility to identify the indications early on and seek prompt veterinary care for our furry companions. If your dog is displaying any of the following symptoms, it is crucial to contact your vet without delay.

Persistent Cough

  • If your dog's heart problem causes fluid to build up in their lungs, they may develop a persistent cough. If your dog has been coughing for more than a couple of days, it's best to contact your vet and schedule an examination for your furry friend.

Fainting or Collapse

  • Dogs with heart problems may experience fainting or collapsing, especially when coughing or exercising, due to insufficient blood flow to the brain. It's crucial to remember that fainting can resemble a seizure, so it's necessary to contact your veterinarian immediately if your dog collapses or faints.

Breathing Difficulties

  • If your dog is experiencing breathing difficulties or an increased rate of breathing, it could be a sign of a heart problem. In such cases, it is important to seek urgent veterinary care for your pet.

Reluctance to Exercise, Play or Climb Stairs

  • Dogs suffering from heart problems tend to experience weakness and fatigue, which causes them to tire out quickly. If your dog was once full of energy but now seems tired, weak, or unwilling to exercise, it's possible that a heart problem might be the cause.

Abdominal Swelling

  • If you notice that your dog has a pot belly, it could be a sign of a heart problem due to fluid build-up in the abdomen. It's important to schedule an appointment with your veterinarian as soon as possible if you observe this symptom in your dog.

Bluish Tinge to Skin

  • When the heart is not working as it should, a lack of oxygen in the blood can occur, resulting in a bluish tinge to the skin. If you notice that your dog's skin has developed an unusual tinge, either bluish or yellowish (jaundice), veterinary care is essential. 

Uncharacteristic Behaviors

  • If your dog's personality changes for no apparent reason, something is amiss. A change in demeanor, appetite, or enthusiasm could all indicate that your dog's heart isn't working as it should. Contact your vet to book an appointment.

Diagnosing Heartproblem in Dogs

Vets can often spot early signs of internal medicine conditions, such as heart problems in dogs, during a pet's annual Wellness Exam. These routine pet checkups are designed specifically to check for signs of developing conditions so that treatment can begin in the earliest stages when it is most effective.

If your vet believes that your dog is suffering from heart problems, they may recommend diagnostic testing such as X-rays, cardiac evaluation, electrocardiogram, echocardiogram, cardiac catheterization, or blood and urine tests.

Treatment of Heart Problems in Dogs 

The treatment of heart problems in dogs varies depending on its root cause. There are many factors that can lead to heart problems, such as birth defects, heartworm infections, bacterial or viral infections, toxins, mineral deficiencies, and tumors. Once the type of heart problem is determined, a customized treatment plan will be developed for your furry friend.

Many types of heartproblem require life-long monitoring with frequent diagnostic testing and medications. Some heart problems, such as congenital defects, can be corrected by surgery. 

Preventing Heartproblem in Dogs

Preventing heart problems in dogs can be challenging, as even if you take all the necessary precautions, your furry friend may still be diagnosed with this condition.

Nevertheless, there are a few measures you can take to lower your dog's chances of developing heart problems, such as:

  • Keeping your dog on preventive heartworm medication 
  • Feeding your dog quality dog food—you can discuss with your vet the best diet for your particular dog
  • Ensuring that your dog gets the right level of daily exercise for their age, breed, and size
  • Helping your dog maintain a healthy weight
  • Avoiding exposure to toxins and contaminated areas 

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.

Do you think that your dog might have a heart problem? Contact us right away to book an urgent examination for your canine companion.

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At South Hillsdale Animal Hospital, our experienced vets are passionate about the health of San Mateo companion animals. Get in touch today to learn more about our services and becoming a new client with us.

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