March is Heart Health Month. Are you aware of the signs of heart disease in dogs? Dr. Anna Coffin wants to raise awareness of heart disease so that dogs can live longer more active lives.
Signs of heart disease are more likely to increase as a dog ages. While 5% of dogs are born with congenital heart disease, most dogs develop heart disease as they age and this risk increases drastically with age.
Signs of heart disease:
Change in breathing pattern
Lack of energy/tires easily
Restlessness – especially at night
Change in appetite
2 common types of heart disease:
Heart valve disease: The valves thicken and become uneven, so the valve can’t form a perfect seal. This causes blood to “leak” back in the wrong direction. This backward flow of blood creates an abnormal heart sound called a heart murmur, which can be detected by your veterinarian. Most common is small breed dogs
- Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
- Boston Terrier
- Fox Terrier
- Miniature Pinscher
Heart muscle disease: The heart enlarges which causes the heart muscles to stretch. This causes the heart muscle to become thin and weak. In its weakened state, the heart is unable to pump blood out of the heart normally. This is usually seen in large breed dogs.
- Great Dane
- Doberman Pinscher
- Afghan Hound
- Cocker Spaniel
- Irish Wolfhound
- Saint Bernard
- Scottish Deerhound
If your dog has signs of heart disease, it’s important to schedule regular veterinary visits to monitor for disease progression. Heart disease can progress into heart failure over time. Heart failure occurs when the heart is unable to pump enough blood to meet the body’s needs. Early diagnosis and treatment of heart failure is vital to prolong your dog’s life. [Tweet “Early diagnosis and treatment of heart failure is vital to prolong your dog’s life. “]
If your dog is over 7 years of age, a high-risk breed or if you have seen 2 or more of the signs of heart disease, call and schedule an appointment right away to talk to us about heart disease and heart failure.
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Dr. Anna was born and raised in Guthrie, Oklahoma. As a teenager, Dr. Anna found her beloved pet dead on the side of the road left to die without any help. That was the moment she decided to become a vet and vowed to help other people and their pets. After a few years of practicing in New Hampshire, Dr. Anna became homesick and decided to return to Guthrie to be with her parents and five other siblings. Family and friends are a major part of our lives which is why we treat our clients at Guthrie Pet Hospital as family. Dr. Anna and her husband do not have children but are very proud pet parents and therefore, treat every four-legged friend as part of the family.