When it comes to life-threatening illnesses, few are as dangerous to humans as heart disease.
What many people don’t realize, however, is that pets can also be susceptible to a variety of illnesses relating to the cardiovascular system.
Here are the early symptoms that your pet may have heart disease:
For many dog owners, it’s not unusual to see your pet having the occasional sneezing or coughing fit. After all, the environment both inside and outside of the home can be full of irritants and pollutants that can aggravate a pet’s respiratory tract. However, excessive coughing can often be the first warning sign that a pet may be entering the initial phases of heart disease.
One way to differentiate between a normal cough and something more serious is by monitoring your pet’s condition before and after exercise. If it seems as if they have greater respiratory irritation after a jog or before bedtime, it may indicate a more serious underlying condition. Some animals may seem exceptionally tired or lethargic from routine exercise. The afternoon jog that your pet seemingly couldn’t wait to take before, may now leave them feeling fatigued. Combined with a frequent inability to settle down before bedtime and these symptoms can signal the need to visit your local center for veterinary specialty and emergency care.
Change in Physical Appearance
Pets can be exceptionally expressive creatures. From the smiles dogs give during a great back rub to the famously curious nature of cats, it can often seem as if animals are speaking to their owners. While owners and their pets may have an exceptionally strong bond, animals lack the ability to plainly tell you when something is wrong. That’s why it’s important to notice any sudden changes in your pet’s appearance, as that can be an early warning of an underlying heart condition.
A belly that has become swollen due to fluid buildup is a sign that heart disease is not only present, but has begun to progress to a more advanced stage. An arterial blockage preventing adequate oxygen flow to the various parts of the body may turn the tongue into a gray color. You may also begin to notice that your pet has fainting spells or exaggerated weight loss. As the heart disease continues to worsen, many of these physical changes will become more pronounced and may impact your pet’s ability to eat and enjoy physical activities.
While pet heart disease can turn your once playful companion into a shell of their former selves, it can be managed if diagnosed in time. Veterinarians at the SAGE Center are highly trained in the field of cardiology, and are well prepared to diagnose any potential symptoms. They may recommend tests of the animal’s blood and urine in order to rule out any other potential complications. The use of an EKG to measure how effectively the heart is functioning is fast and painless way to diagnose heart disease without causing any distress to the patient.
Once a diagnosis has been made, the doctor may prescribe medications to prevent fluid buildup in the lungs and correct a heart that is beating irregularly. In severe cases, surgery may be necessary. However, if a diagnosis is made early and treatments are followed closely, your faithful companion will be feeling like their old selves in no time!