Signs of Heart-Related Illnesses to Watch For in Dogs

Humans aren’t the only ones vulnerable to heart disease. Your furry friend is actually at risk of heart-related illness as well. Learn more about the early signs and symptoms of heart disease in dogs so that you can get your pup the treatment and care he needs. 

What Causes Heart Problems in Dogs?

A few different issues can cause heart problems in dogs, but the good news is that most dogs can live relatively normal lives tolerating a heart condition. 

In most cases, dogs develop heart problems due to trouble pumping blood through the body. When this happens, blood pools in the chest and abdomen. When this happens, fluid can build up in the chest and/or abdomen.

  • Chronic valvular disease occurs when a leaking heart valve reduces the quantity of blood pumped through the body.
  • Myocardial disease develops when weakness or thickening of the heart muscle makes it harder for the heart to pump blood efficiently. 

Risk Factors for Heart-Related Illness in Dogs

There’s no single cause of canine heart problems, but your dog may be predisposed to heart complications if he is overweight, older, or a certain breed. Small breeds such as Cocker Spaniels, Schnauzers, and Pomeranians are more likely to have chronic valvular disease. On the other hand, large dog breeds such as Great Danes and Irish wolfhounds are more likely to develop myocardial disease. 

Signs Your Dog Has a Heart Condition

Heart disease doesn’t develop overnight, so pay attention for these symptoms to gradually make themselves evident:

  • Fatigue and fainting
  • Frequent coughing that leads to gagging
  • Breathing difficulties
  • Difficulty exercising
  • Reduced appetite
  • Swelling in the abdomen

Veterinary tests can check for heart problems in a number of ways:

  • Use of a stethoscope to listen for murmurs and fluid in the lungs
  • X-rays to find heart enlargement
  • Blood and urine tests to reveal heartworms and internal organ conditions
  • Blood test to check for heartworms

If you’re concerned about your pet’s health and need advice from the experts, call Pet Urgent Care of Wesley Chapel. We’re here for your pet when they need us the most!