When thinking about cardiac issues we automatically assume that it’s a human problem. After all, we have been led to believe that heart issues are an inevitable result of a bad diet, alcoholism, and lack of exercise.
Believe it or not cardiac issues in dogs is pretty common. Compared to humans, dogs are less likely to develop a cardiac problem but there is no denying that they too are at risk. While some are caused by poor diet and lifestyle, most heart health issues in dogs are a result of genetic disposition. Serious heart problems such as congestive heart failure in dogs can be caused by a range of different diseases such as mitral valve defect and heartworm disease.
As a loving pet parent, it’s more than a little bit concerning to know that your dog might have life-threatening cardiac problems. What’s more unsettling is the fact that a lot of these diseases and conditions are not preventable. When dealing with diseases such as congestive heart failure, early detection is the key. When detected early, pet meds such as Vetmedin for dogs and ACE inhibitors can contain the problem and extend your pet’s life. Following are 6 signs that may indicate that your dog has cardiac problems.
Unprompted Breathlessness: Heart diseases can take many forms but at its core, it impairs the functions of the heart. An impaired heart struggles to pump blood efficiently, which in turn results in poor oxygenation. This means your pet is much more likely to get tired easily. In a lot of cases, dogs can go on a panting spree even when resting.
Exercise Intolerance: The lack of oxygen inevitably reduces the dog’s energy level. Dogs with cardiac issues often are reluctant to go out and mingle with other pets. While some breeds are more couch loving than others, it’s important to judge if the reluctance to exercise is out of character or not.
Persistent Coughing: Coughing may indicate a lot of health issues including cardiac problems. Coughing caused by minor cold usually subsides after a few days. However, if the coughing continues any longer than a week, it’s a good idea to take your pet to the vet’s office. Coughing sprees after exercise and at night are well known signs of heart problems such as CHF.
Lethargy: Look out for subtle signs of lethargy. Is your dog not as welcoming and exciting to see you after you return home? This may be a sign of lethargy, which can be caused by a heart problem.
Bluing of Gums: Lack of oxygen can cause the color of the gums to change. When inspecting a dog with cardiac issues, vets often look for bluing of the gums. This indicates lower levels of oxygen in the gums, which is often brought on by a cardiac problem.
Labored Breathing/Slow Rate of Breathing: There is an easy way to count the number of breaths per minute. Simply count the number of breaths your dog takes in 30 seconds and then multiply it by two. Dogs suffering from cardiac issue may have an uncharacteristically high or low rate of breathing. For reference, healthy dogs usually take 30 to 40 breaths per minute.