Be Still My Heart: Recognizing Cardiac Problems in Pets

Weimaraner with head cockedPet lovers everywhere know that their furry friends’ hearts are large and loving. Our pets are capable of such unconditional, spirit-lifting love, it is only fair that we return the favor by taking care of them.

Heart disease in animals is a real problem, making it important for their caretakers to be on the lookout for signs of an issue. Recognizing cardiac problems in pets is vital so that we can intervene before things become serious.

Heart Disease in Animals

When pets have heart trouble, it differs from what comes to mind when we think of human cardiac disease. While heart attacks and strokes can happen, they are not very common in our animal friends.

Several other heart-related issues do affect our pets, however. The more common pet heart problems we diagnose include:

  • Heartworm disease
  • Valve problems within the heart
  • Problems with the heart muscle (cardiomyopathy)
  • Congenital problems
  • Hypertension

Recognizing Cardiac Problems in Pets

Intervening early is often critical in helping animals suffering from heart issues. Recognizing cardiac problems in pets is something that every owner should know how to do. Be sure to let us know if your dog or cat is experiencing:

  • Exercise intolerance
  • Coughing
  • Heavy breathing, especially at rest
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Fainting episodes
  • Blue or gray appearance to tongue and/or gums
  • Loss of appetite
  • Enlarged abdomen

It is also important that we routinely examine your pet at wellness visits. If you think that your pet might be experiencing heart problems, don’t delay in letting us know. Beverly Hills Veterinary Associates is standing by to help.

We can diagnose pet heart problems using information from your pet’s physical examination, as well as additional diagnostics, including radiographs (x-ray), blood tests, urine tests, blood pressure readings, EKG, and ultrasound of the heart (echocardiogram).

These tests allow us to achieve an accurate diagnosis, allowing us to create the best treatment plan for your pet.

Heart Health Tips

Your pet’s ticker is a vital part of his or her health, and it is so important to take good care of it. Help your pet’s heart stay healthy by:

  • Helping him or her to maintain a healthy weight
  • Encouraging exercise
  • Staying current on heartworm prevention year-round
  • Providing good dental care
  • Staying up-to-date on wellness visits and screenings.

Pay close attention to your pet in order to recognize early signs of heart problems. If you notice anything suspicious, be sure to bring it to our attention right away. We hope that your pet is never affected by heart disease, but if you ever should need us we are always happy to help.