Heart disease in dogs can cause many problems. The heart is very important because it pumps blood throughout the dogís body. It delivers nutrients and oxygen to all the cells, giving nourishment. When a dog has heart disease, the heart becomes a lot weaker. As a result, there are not enough nutrients, as well as oxygen, to circulate the whole body. It can also cause the buildup of fluid in the heart, chest and stomach.
There are two basic types of canine heart disease. The first is called Chronic Valvular Disease. In this case, blood leaks through faulty valves in the heart. The heart is forced to double the work it does, because of the inefficient circulation. The second type of dog heart disease is called the Myocardial Disease. In this case, the muscles in the heart thicken. This hinders in the smooth pumping motion of the heart, many dogs get these diseases. In cases that are not so severe, itís easy to live with the disease as long as your dog eats a healthy, balanced meal and exercises regularly, it wonít be a problem. Remember that this is a disease of old and obese dogs, so keep your pup healthy and active.
There are many signs that your dog has heart disease. You will notice that he doesnít like to play anymore Ė not even a walk around the block. He will be very weak and lack energy. The dog will also have a lot of difficulty breathing, sometimes even while resting. S/he will start coughing more frequently. The stomach will be swollen, and he will start to lose weight. In some cases, the dog will faint. These symptoms can be hard to differentiate from normal doggy reactions. This is why most heart diseases in dogs are left untreated, sometimes for years. This causes a lot of damage to the heart.
Heart disease is caused by a lot of things. Many factors contribute to the onset of the illness. The first and most important factor is the body weight. The more weight your dog puts on, the higher the risk of him developing heart disease. Age also has something to do with it, as dogs age, their hearts begin to weaken, especially without exercise. Lastly, some dog breeds are more susceptible to heart disease. For heart problems concerning the valves, smaller breeds are more prone. However, weakened heart muscles are often found in bigger, obese dogs.
Dogs with heart problems require constant care. Your veterinarian will prescribe the best treatment for your pup, and itís important that you follow it precisely. Make sure that your dog gets enough exercise. If he is carrying more weight than what is recommended, make an effort to help him shed a few pounds. Control your dogís diet, and donít let him eat a lot of fatty food. Medication might be prescribed for maintenance of the disease. Take your dog to the vet regularly once he is diagnosed with heart disease, so you can see how it is progressing.
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