A heart problem can affect your pet at any age, although it is more often found in older pets. In many cases, a heart problem is detected during a routine annual examination, and the owners are not even aware that there is a problem. During the examination the veterinarian may detect: a heart murmur, a rhythm abnormality, changes to pulses, or changes in mucous membrane colour. If a problem is detected, we will recommend appropriate diagnostic testing to help pinpoint the cause of the changes detected on physical exam. Additional tests may include EKG (electrocardiograms), radiographs (X-rays), blood pressure measurement, and ultrasounds. In some cases, referral to a veterinary cardiologist will be recommended.
Heart failure occurs when the heart no longer has the ability to pump blood around the body effectively. Heart failure can lead to congestive heart failure. If an animal is suffering from congestive heart failure, fluid accumulates in the lungs, chest and the abdomen. Animals suffering from congestive heart failure experience difficulty breathing,coughing, and may be exercise intolerant. Causes of heart failure include: congenital heart disease (animals born with a heart problem), valvular heart disease (abnormalities of the valves of the heart), heartworm disease, and myocardial dysfunction (disease of the heart muscle).
Heart disease can be a serious, life threatening condition. Early diagnosis and appropriate therapy can improve the quality and duration of your pet’s life. If you have any concerns about the health of your pet’s heart, please contact us and we can arrange a consultation with one of our veterinarians.
|Atlas Hill’s Illustrations are reprinted with permission by the copyright owner, Hill’s Pet Nutrition, Inc|