Your aging dog can suffer from several geriatric problems including heart disease. Many owners don't realize that their dogs can suffer from this problem and fail to notice the signs. While there is a chance that your dog can get heart disease, it doesn't mean that he is nearing the end of his life, especially if you and your your veterinarian catch it early. Here are some of the types of heart problems your older dog may develop as well as their symptoms and possible treatments.
Types of Heart Disease That Affect Dogs
Most dogs with heart disease have valvular problems, such as congestive heart failure, or weakness with the heart muscle that results in less efficient pumping, also known as myocardial disease. These cause problems with fluid buildup in the lungs or abdomen. Your dog can also acquire heart disease and damage through preventable heart worms.
Causes of Heart Disease in Dogs
Other than heart worms, heart disease causes can be hard to pinpoint in dogs. It is known that poor condition and obesity can contribute to heart problems, but they are not the main cause. Older dogs as well as certain breeds, especially very large or very small breeds, are more prone to getting heart problems. Large breeds tend to get myocardial issues, and smaller breeds are more likely to have valvular problems.
Symptoms of Heart Disease in Dogs
Some of the most noticeable symptoms of heart disease in dogs revolve around having trouble breathing, or coughing, and suffer from increasingly worse fatigue. Some dogs have problems with fainting and low blood pressure. Dogs may also may start to eat less and appear to have a change in personality or mood.
Treatments Available for Heart Disease in Dogs
After an assessment using EKGs, x-rays, urine tests, or listening to the heart with a stethoscope, your veterinarian will devise a treatment plan to help your dog. While your dog's heart disease can't be cured, it can be mediated with certain medications depending on how bad the disease has progressed. Other medications can help improve breathing issues and prevent blood clots and parasites that can worsen your dog's heart condition.
While dogs can get heart disease just as humans, the causes and treatments are different with dogs. Lifestyle changes and diet can help, somewhat, but can't prevent or cure heart disease in dogs. Instead, you should visit a veterinarian at a pet hospital to discuss any changes in your dog's appetite or activity, as well as other therapies to make your dog more comfortable and live longer with the disease.
Speak with animal health services to learn more.