Love your pet… love your vet
Ticker trouble! Is my pet affected?
Whilst most pets take normal heart function for granted, heart disease is nevertheless surprisingly common in dogs.
The heart is essentially a muscular pump responsible for supplying the tissues of your pet’s body with oxygen and nutrients, allowing them to lead a normal active life. The heart pumps blood from the body through the lungs to get oxygen and then to the tissues of the body. As the heart muscles squeeze and pump, valves within the heart prevent backflow of blood.
Heart disease, which can be gradual or sudden in onset, is the loss of the normal pumping action of the heart. Whilst there are many possible causes of heart disease, the most common are usually associated with either heart valve problems or a problem with the heart muscle itself.
In dogs it is generally more common in older pets, but in certain breeds it is more prevalent at an early age.
Heart disease is associated with a range of symptoms including:
- Laboured breathing
- Tiring more easily than normal
- Reluctance to exercise
- Pale or blueish gums
- Fainting or collapse
If you are at all concerned that your pet is showing any of these signs you should see your vet for a full clinical examination.
The good news is that new methods of diagnosis and novel forms of treatment are now transforming the lives of many affected pets.
Chris Devlin is a Vet and Partner at Hillside Veterinary Centre in Corfe Mullen. For
more information visit www.hillsidevets.co.uk.