Heart Disease in Dogs - Symptoms, Prevention, Diagnosis & Cure

Heart disease, also known as cardiovascular disease has become very common in human beings. Very few people know that animals also suffer from cardiovascular disease. Since there have been less research and studies in animal health, many of the reasons and cure for animal heart disease are still unknown. 

Statistics show that 10% of all dogs in US have heart disease. Sometimes it can be mild but most of the time it is deadly. It's more common in small breed dogs of over 5 years of age. 13% heart disease patients are suffering from heartworm disease.


No symptom is visible in the early stage of heart disease in dogs. The signs vary depending on the type of disease and severity. The dogs start experiencing fatigue and loss the willingness to play or even walk. Other symptoms include difficulty in breathing, trouble in sleeping and may start coughing. They tend to lose appetite and lose weight. Sometimes, there might be distended stomach. Eventually, heart disease progresses to congestive heart failure.


Sadly, there is no prevention measures discovered yet for heart disease in dogs, except for heartworm disease. The tragic fact is that even though heartworm disease can be easily prevented, 13% of the heart patients suffer from this disease. The best preventive measure pet parent can adopt is to take their dog for whole body screening every year. This will definitely prevent heartworm disease. At the same time, other heart disease will also be diagnosed in it's early stage. Though there is not complete cure for heart disease, it can be reduced up to a level with medication. 


It's mandatory to take the dog to a veterinarian to diagnose the heart disease. The vet will look for the abnormal sounds in his chest, such as murmurs or irregular rhythm. If something comes of on this, the dog is put on further tests, for instance, blood pressure, x-rays, cardiac ultrasound, ECG and like. The presence of heart disease is declared by the analysis of the reports. 


Like there is no prevention for heart disease in dogs, there's no cure for congestive heart failure (CHF). The medication can help the heart work better. Dogs with heart disease are treated in either of the two ways: Conventional therapy or Pimobendan. Which method to implement depends on the practice of the vet. A study, however, has shown that pimobendan cures the heart better than conventional therapy. 


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