The month of February focuses on the heart quite a bit. For one, we celebrate Valentine’s Day during this month. Two, February is also American Heart Month. Today we’re going to shed light on heart disease in pets and go over signs/symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment. Our #1 goal is to ensure that pets have long, healthy, and high-quality lives.
Heart disease, like many other progressive diseases, can take time for signs and symptoms to show. If your canine companion or feline friend is showing any of the following signs/symptoms, schedule an appointment with us right away:
- Dry cough after physical activity or when at rest
- Shortness of breath
- Inability to fall asleep easily/restlessness
- Rapid weight loss, especially within a few weeks
- Excessive weight in the stomach area (typically caused by fluid buildup)
Cardiovascular issues can come at multiple stages in a pet’s life. For example, puppies and kittens can be born with congenital deficits in the valves and the heart muscle. Senior pets can develop valve deformation, which can result in an enlarged heart or congestive heart failure. During your pet’s examination, our veterinarians can detect some issues by listening to your pet’s heart and detecting a murmur or an irregular heart rate or rhythm.
Determining the specific cardiovascular condition of a pet requires further diagnostic testing. Our diagnostic procedures include:
- Radiographs (uses recorded images of the heart structure to assess the presence of disease, foreign objects, structural damage, or an abnormality)
- An EKG (detects the rate and rhythm at which a patient’s heart is beating)
- Blood pressure evaluation (indicates how hard the heart is working to pump blood to the rest of the body)
- Echocardiogram (uses sound waves to produce detailed images of the heart)
Dr. Fox can perform on-site diagnostics, and these diagnostics are sent to a board-certified cardiologist for evaluation. Next, one of our veterinarians will formulate a medical regimen based on the findings that can help control heart failure symptoms.
- Medications that strengthen the heart muscles, normalize irregular heartbeats, manage blood pressure, and help prevent fluid buildup in the body
- Surgical procedures to help correct a torn valve or insertion of a pacemaker to correct the heartbeat
- A low-salt diet
- Limited exercise as to not put too much strain on your pet’s heart
How to Honor American Heart Month
- Stay in the know and share blogs and articles such as this.
- Keep your pet healthy as well as yourself.
- Ensure that your pet never misses a routine checkup (the same should go for pet parents!)
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!