Pauls Valley, Oklahoma —
Any dog can be born with or develop heart disease; however, certain breeds are predisposed to a heart condition.
Hariu explains that Chronic Valve Disease is one of the most common acquired heart diseases in middle aged to older small dog breeds.
Dilated cardiomyopathy is another acquired heart disease that develops in middle aged large breed dogs.
Some common precursors of heart problems to look for in a pet are breathing difficulty, coughing, decreased exercise, weakness, lethargy, and episodes of collapsing. If any of these signs occur at home, a veterinarian should be contacted for a full health evaluation.
If heart problems do exist there are several procedures in modern veterinary medicine that can treat or ease the symptoms of heart disease.
“While some heart diseases can only be medically managed, some can be helped with non-invasive catheter based procedures or surgery,” explains Hariu.
Some acquired heart diseases can also be helped with procedures,” says Hariu. “For example, some heart rhythm problems in which the heart beats too slowly can be effectively managed by placement of a pacemaker.”
Receiving yearly checkups with a veterinarian, maintaining a healthy and well-balanced diet, exercising regularly, and keeping pets regular on vaccines are the best ways to promote a healthy heart and the well being of a pet.
Pet Talk is a service of the College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences, Texas A&M University. CNHI News Service distributes this column.