Cardiac diseases in dogs and cats

It is common to hear about heart disease in people. Surely someone close has already had some form of heart disease, whether it is familial or not. But do animals also develop this kind of disease? The answer is yes.

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Every animal has in its chest this organ so famous, responsible for the attention of all: the heart. This body’s main function is to pump blood to the whole body, because it is through the blood that all substances such as nutrients, metabolic waste, substances in general and especially gases like oxygen and carbon dioxide are transported. It is not difficult to point out that this is a vital organ, of fundamental importance for the correct functioning of the whole organism. However, just like humans, it can also have diseases in our pet friends.

Veterinary cardiology is becoming stronger every day. Technological advances, as well as accessibility to new methods of diagnosis and treatment, are responsible for a great advance in small animal cardiology. Every day there are more specialized centers, as well as an increase in the number of professionals trained for this purpose. Without a doubt it is an area with a promising future in our country.

YourCatCareguide has prepared this article on the main heart diseases in dogs and cats .

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Heart problems in dogs and cats

What are heart diseases?

Also called heart disease, these diseases are pathological changes that occur in the heart. They can have different causes as well as various forms of manifestations in animals. They can also be classified in different ways, such as severity, form of evolution and anatomical location. Another important point is that they can occur either in the heart muscle itself (cardiomyopathies), in the heart valves (valvulopathies) or in the arteries that irrigate the heart (coronary diseases).

What do they cause?

Heart diseases are changes that require special attention from both the guardian and the veterinarian. Because it is a vital organ, any change can lead to serious complications, including death. The complications of these diseases usually reflect on various parts of the body, leading to varied disorders, both mild and severe. Whenever there is a problem with this pump, the blood circulates with difficulty and this implies a series of occurrences, which turn into a “snowball” effect.

Among the major heart diseases in small animals, Congestive Heart Failure (CHF) is among the most serious and most frequently occurring in pets. It is a condition where the heart is insufficient to perform its work, which is to pump the blood. In this way, blood tends to accumulate in the blood vessels where it should have a normal flow, this accumulation of blood leads to the formation of edema which is a collection of liquid in regions of the body. When this condition occurs in the lungs, the animals present symptoms such as coughing and easy tiredness, another very common sign of this disease is the accumulation of fluid in the abdominal cavity (ascites or popularly “watery belly”) and edema in the hind limbs .

Breath in the heart in dogs and cats

The valve disorders , also known as “breath” are together with the ICC, very common diseases in dogs and cats. This is an anatomical failure in the valves, leading to a lack of control of the blood flow through them that consequently causes reflexes in the heart itself and in other organs. Valvulopathies can also be one of the causes of heart failure.

Small dogs such as yorkshire , poodle, pinscher and maltese have a natural predisposition to develop endocardiosis , which is a syndrome that reflects major complications to the heart. On the other hand, larger races such as boxer, labrador, dobermam, rottweiler and German dogue, can be more easily affected by dilated cardiomyopathy , which is another condition with great negative effects on the heart.

Dogs who live close to the sea may be affected by irofilariose , which is a worm transmitted by the bite of a mosquito and that focuses on the heart, obstructing the passage of blood and functioning.

Our pussy buddies also have a strong tendency to develop heart disease throughout their lives. An important observation regarding felines is that in these animals, heart disease occurs quietly and is usually detected in an already very advanced picture.

Symptoms of heart disease in dogs and cats

The main signs of cardiovascular disease in dogs and cats are:

  • Dyspnoea: shortness of breath
  • Continuous coughing
  • Apathy
  • Edema of abdomen or legs
  • Easy tiredness

Read our full article on the symptoms of heart disease in dogs .

How to detect and prevent heart disease in dogs and cats

The periodic evaluation by a veterinarian is essential for a diagnosis and treatment still at the beginning of the disease. It is worth noting that regardless of whether or not signs of heart disease are present, routine monitoring of your pet is critical. Especially in animals with an advanced age that present a greater tendency to manifest this type of disease.

Another important point in prevention is food and exercise. Animals that consume human food, have too much salt and fat, or overeat, are strong candidates for some kind of heart disease over the course of their life. The sedentariness that has become common in pets due to the routine of their owners, is also one of the great causes of heart disease. Therefore, avoiding it is a simple and effective way of prevention.

The prevention is always the best medicine for your best friend.

This article is purely informative, in we do not have the capacity to prescribe veterinary treatments nor to make any type of diagnosis. We suggest you bring your pet to the veterinarian in case of any type of condition or malaise.

If you want to see more articles that might be updated by clicking here , you may be asked to sign in to our section on Cardiovascular Diseases .

Emily Harris

Hi Guys, Girls, and Cats:-p I am Emily Harris, and you can see in above pic. She loves me I swear. I saved her from a dumpster a few weeks back.

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