There’s nothing more important than keeping your dog’s heart healthy. Recognizing and understanding heart disease in dogs is crucial for every responsible pet parent. As guardians of your beloved four-legged friend, it is your duty to be vigilant and informed about potential health challenges they may face. In order to recognize heart disease in dogs, you need to know the early warning signs and understand the risk factors.
The types of heart disease in dogs
The general types of heart disease in dogs are:
Hereditary heart disease
Some dogs are born with a higher risk of heart issues due to genes passed down from their parents. This is called hereditary heart disease. Certain breeds may be more prone to these conditions, like dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) and problems with their heart valves. If you have a breed known for these issues, it’s essential to work with your vet on monitoring symptoms and creating a treatment plan.
Congenital heart disease
Congenital heart disease means that a dog is born with heart abnormalities. It can affect how your dog’s heart works or how blood flows through it. Common examples include ventricular septal defects (VSD), patent ductus arteriosus (PDA), and atrial septal defects (ASD). Early detection and prompt veterinary care are crucial to manage these conditions and improve your pup’s life quality.
Acquired heart disease
Unlike the first two types, acquired heart disease develops over time due to various factors. It can happen as a dog gets older or due to certain health conditions. Heartworm disease, problems with the heart valves, and inflammation of the heart muscle (myocarditis) are some examples of acquired heart disease. Regular vet check-ups and a healthy lifestyle can make a big difference in managing and treating these issues, helping your dog lead a longer, happier life.
Symptoms of heart disease
These are the general symptoms of heart disease:
- Loss of appetite
- Body swelling
- Bluish tongue
- Rapid or extremely slow heartbeat.
If you notice any of these signs in your dog, consult your veterinarian as soon as possible.
Often, your vet can manage heart disease in your dogs with proper medication and care. Your veterinarian is the best one to advise you on treatment for your dog.