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Congenital Heart Disease in Dogs
Your beloved pet, like you, can suffer from cardiac problems. Recognize the signs and symptoms so you can get your mate the help they require.
Congestive heart failure is a condition caused by heart disease. When your dog’s heart has difficulties pumping blood to the rest of his body, this is what happens.
Heart illness can affect one or both sides of the heart. It might take years to detect and progress slowly.
It’s possible that your dog was born with a heart problem. It can be exacerbated by old age, injury, or infection. Diet and exercise both play a part.
Take note out for the following early signs of heart problems:
- coughing a lot more than usual (during or after exercise or a few hours before bedtime)
- Having difficulty breathing or exercising?
- Easily tiring
- Before sleep, you’re pacing and having trouble calming down.
- Increased respiratory rate (number of breaths taken per minute)
As the disease progresses, further symptoms may appear, including:
- Fluid collection in the stomach causes a bloated belly (called ascites)
- Because of a block in the brain’s blood flow, you’re fainting.
- Due to a lack of oxygen, the color of your tongue or gums will turn bluish gray.
- Weight loss occurs as your dog’s ability to store healthy fat diminishes.
Getting a Diagnosis
Any symptoms you’ve detected will be discussed with your veterinarian. They’ll want to know what the dog eats, what drugs and supplements they’re on, and if they’re on heartworm protection right present.
The vet will examine your dog’s chest and may order various tests, such as:
- A blood and urine test will be performed to rule out any other issues that may be harming your dog’s heart.
- Chest X-rays: These make images of your dog’s interior organs using low-dose radiation.
- An EKG: This test examines electrical impulses from your dog’s heart to determine how rapidly it beats and whether or not that rhythm is healthy.
- An ultrasound: Ultrasound examines the size, shape, and movement of the heart using sound waves.
- Heartworm antigen test: Your dog’s blood will be taken and tested for heartworms by your veterinarian.
- Holter monitor: This is affixed to your dog’s chest and worn for 24-48 hours to record heart rate and rhythms.
The treatment for your dog is determined on the type of cardiac problem they have and what may be causing it.
One or more of the following treatments may be suggested by your veterinarian:
- Medications that assist the heart in working properly and repair irregular heartbeats
- Medications that help to reduce the buildup of fluid in the lungs.
- Surgery to repair a torn valve or the installation of a pacemaker to regulate heart rate are both options.
- Reduce fluid build-up in your dog’s body with a low-salt commercial or prescription diet.
- To control weight without putting undue stress on your dog’s heart, limit activity or exercise.
Supplements may be recommended by your veterinarian. Vitamin B supplements, taurine (an amino acid that aids brain development), or carnitine may help dogs with congestive heart failure (an amino acid that helps turn fat into energy). Coenzyme Q and vitamin E are antioxidants that may aid.
If identified early enough, medication can also clear heartworms or bacterial infections.
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