The Pet Doctor

American Heart Month

Hey guys did you know that February is American Heart Month? What better time than the month of love to raise awareness about heart health? Well the same can be said about pet health. We’re going to bring you some facts about Congestive Heart Failure (CHF) in dogs.

Congestive Heart Failure can be congenital, meaning your pet was born with heart defects. Things like old age, infection, and injury can make the condition worse. Also, as with humans diet and exercise play are a factor in heart health.

Symptoms:

  • Coughing (More than usual, during exercise or before bedtime)
  • Trouble breathing during Exercise
  • Tiring easily
  • Having a hard time settling down
  • Swollen belly from fluid buildup
  • Fainting because of blocked blood flow to the brain
  • Gum color turning from pink to bluish gray from lack of oxygen
  • Weight loss

When you bring your little one to the vet they will want to know all the symptoms that they are experiencing, and any medications you have been giving them. This also includes supplements that they may be taking. Very importantly they need to know if they are current on Heartworm prevention. The doctor will run a host of test on your pet to correctly diagnose the condition in your pet. Blood tests, urine tests. The doctor will take radiographs and ultrasounds to see the condition of the heart, and taking an EKG measure your pet’s heartbeat and rhythm.

Treatment:

The doctor may recommend various things depending on the individual dog’s needs. They may start them on a medication to help correct the pet’s irregular heartbeats, and help their heart work. Also a medication to slow the fluid buildup in the lungs. In extreme cases there may be the recommendation of surgery to correct a torn valve or to insert a pacemaker to help correct the heartbeat. A diet change will be recommended, whether it’s a switch to a low salt diet, or a prescription diet meant for dogs with a heart condition. Of course trying some careful exercise to help manage your pet’s weight without putting too much strain on your pets heart is recommended.

If your pet is diagnosed with CHF, you need to make sure to bring them in for regular visits to the vet for exams and blood work. Make not of any changes and how they feel during their treatments. This condition is never fully corrected, but can be managed and help your pet live a long healthy life as comfortably as possible by your side.

It’s February, American Heart Month, maybe you should schedule a visit with your vet and have their heart evaluated asap!