Heart Disease in Dogs: Symptoms, Causes, and Treatments

We all think of dogs as creatures with big hearts—figuratively speaking. As the saying goes, a dog is a man’s best friend. No matter their breed, all of them have unique personalities and are loyal companions to their human owners. They’re also very empathetic creatures and are always there for you when you need uplifting. It’s one thing to say they have big hearts figuratively; however, when that happens to their actual physical hearts, that’s something to be seriously concerned about. Dogs, like us humans, can potentially suffer from heart disease, which is an abnormal enlargement of their hearts. 

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So what is heart disease, and how can dogs suffer from it?

Heart disease is an unfortunate condition to have, but if you know how to deal with it, it can be tolerable. Like in humans as it is in other living creatures, the heart is your dog’s most important organ as it is responsible for pumping blood all throughout his body, carrying oxygens and nutrients to all the cells of the body through the blood vessels. In many heart conditions, the heart can suffer from a decrease in the body’s efficient pumping of blood. This leads to fluid building up in the abdomen and chest areas. 

There are two main heart conditions that dogs can suffer from.

    • Chronic Valvular Disease – when the heart has a leaking valve that reduces the volume of blood pumped around the body

    • Myocardial Disease – when the heart becomes weak or develops a thickening of its walls, resulting in less efficient blood circulation

Cause of Heart Disease

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When it comes to heart disease in dogs, there is no one cause that can be pinpointed, but the following factors can play a major role in the development of serious heart conditions:

    • Age – The older dogs get, the more susceptible they become to developing all sorts of heart conditions.

    • Body Condition – If a dog is overweight or obese, he also becomes more at risk for heart disease. 

    • Breed – Certain small breeds like cocker spaniels, miniature poodles, and the like are much more likely to develop chronic valvular disease, while larger breeds like Irish wolfhounds and Great Danes are more susceptible to myocardial disease. 

Signs of Heart Disease

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So how can you tell if your dog has a heart condition? The following signs can indicate such:

    • He is often tired or lacks energy, and often for no reason at all.

    • He also frequently collapses or faints. 

    • He coughs often, and sometimes a coughing fit leads to gagging.

    • He is always short of breath.

    • He suddenly becomes sluggish in his movements, especially during his exercises.

    • There is an obvious weight gain or loss.

    • His abdomen becomes swollen.

Treatment of Heart Disease

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Treatments cannot magically cure heart disease; however, they can help your dog live a relatively normal and comfortable life. Dogs with either type of heart condition can still live healthy lives provided their owners carefully monitor their nutrition, medication, and exercise. In short, if you make sure your dog eats right and remains active, then you can be free from worries. 

With heart disease, it’s important that you get an early diagnosis as much as possible so you can get the right treatments for it and adjust your dog to new routines to help him deal with his condition. Trackidog has a health tracking feature that can allow you to monitor the health and vital stats of your dog. This way, you can immediately be aware if or when he develops the above-mentioned signs and symptoms of heart disease. 

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