When it comes to heart disease in dogs, many factors play a role, including aging, obesity, breed, and nutrition. It is estimated that 95% of heart conditions in dogs come with age, so it’s important to visit your vet regularly for routine checkups to detect heart disease in your dog. Unchecked heart conditions can shorten your dog’s life span while causing significant health problems and discomfort. Continue reading to learn more about the causes, types, signs, diagnosis, and treatment of heart disease in dogs at Mount Carmel Animal Hospital.
Common Types of Heart Disease in Dogs
Degenerative mitral valve disease (DMVD) is one of the most common forms of valvular degeneration in dogs that causes heart murmurs. As dogs age, their mitral valve becomes weaker and leaks, impacting the flow of blood moving through the valve with each heartbeat and creating murmurs. Murmurs are graded on a scale ranging from one to six, and the higher the number, the more detectable the murmur is. One of our veterinarians can detect a murmur during your dog’s wellness exam. Early intervention is key!
Heart Muscle Disease
In dogs, especially dogs of larger breeds, one of the most common types of heart muscle disease is dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM). DCM causes muscle degeneration and thinning, decreasing the heart’s ability to contract and pump blood, eventually leading to congestive heart failure. DCM is an irreversible disease in dogs, but it can be controlled with available medications provided by our veterinarians.
Signs of Heart Disease in Dogs
Heart disease in dogs is very serious and can bring significant health issues and discomfort to your pet, so as a pet parent, it’s important to pay attention to the various signs that indicate your dog might have heart disease. Listed below are some of the common symptoms of heart disease in your dog:
- Difficulty breathing
- Exhaustion after physical activity
- Fainting or loss of consciousness
- Bloating or swelling of the abdomen
- Behavior changes
- Loss of appetite
Diagnosing Heart Disease in Dogs at MCAH
If you suspect your dog has heart disease, it’s best to reach out to us for a clear diagnosis and treatment plan. Diagnosis starts with a complete physical examination by one of our veterinarians. If there is a concern for heart disease, a full cardiac workup is recommended. Here at MCAH, we are able to perform the necessary tests to diagnose heart disease, including:
- Blood pressure evaluation
- Electrocardiogram (EKG)
These tests are then sent to a board-certified cardiologist at our reference laboratory to be evaluated and a treatment plan is provided.
Treating Heart Disease in Dogs
After your dog is diagnosed with heart disease, a medical regimen can be formulated based on the type and extent of their heart problems, helping control and treat the symptoms making your pet healthier and more comfortable. Heart disease is not a curable disease, but many dogs can live long, happy lives when managed with diet and medications!
Here at Mount Carmel Animal Hospital, We’ll Treat Your Pets Like Family!
Mount Carmel Animal Hospital has been serving the Northern Baltimore/Southern York community for over 30 years and is proud to be an independently operated, small animal practice committed to excellence in veterinary medicine and client service. From grooming to wellness services, along with Canine Life Skills Training Courses, and surgical procedures, we have the expertise that will best serve the needs of you and your pet. Contact us at 410-343-0200 and follow us on Facebook!