Signs That Your Dog Has a Heart Disease
When you think about the conditions affecting the health of your dog, heart disease isn’t what comes first to mind. However, the sad truth is dogs, too, are affected by heart diseases, much like their human companions. While the causes for heart diseases in humans could be attributed to factors such as smoking or an unhealthy diet, the reasons for heart diseases in dogs is slightly more difficult to figure out.
Heart diseases in dogs can lead to abnormalities related to blood pumping, which can further cause fluid to be built up in the abdomen and chest of your dog. Heart conditions can be divided into two types, namely the heart valve and the heart muscle. Regardless of which type of heart disease affects your dogs, it can be controlled with the help of proper nutrition, exercise, and by following the advice of your vet.
Valvular disease is the most common type of heart disease that mostly affects dogs of the smaller breeds, and accounts for almost 75% of the heart diseases in dogs. 13% of the heart diseases are a result of heartworm disease, and can be easily prevented, whereas myocardial diseases such as dilated cardiomyopathy makes up for 8% of the heart diseases occurring in dogs, and mostly affects the bigger dogs.
Symptoms of Heart Diseases in a Dog
You will know your dog is suffering from a heart disease if he/she exhibits the following symptoms:
Coughing can often be the first sign of your dog contracting a heart disease. This could be for a variety of reasons. Since blood doesn’t get pumped properly in this scenario, it can cause fluid to get accumulated in the lungs, thereby leading to blood backup, causing the fluid to leak out of the dog’s blood vessels and thereby accumulating in the lung tissue, which causes the coughing.
Certain heart diseases could also lead to the enlargement of the heart, and this condition can cause pressure on the airways, and lead to coughing. If your dog has been coughing for days, it’s best to take them to a vet soon.
The decrease of heart functions causes the vital organs to run out of important elements such as oxygen. When a body part as important as that of a brain experiences a decrease in oxygen, it compromises the flow of blood to the brain, which can result in your dog fainting or collapsing. Exercises often causes dogs with heart diseases to faint. However, coughing can also lead to a fainting or collapse episode in dogs.
3. Breathing Issues
With the heart not functioning properly and blood not being pumped at the regular rate, the amount of oxygen reaching various body parts is diminished. Due to this, the lungs start to overcompensate by attempting to bring in more oxygen into the bloodstream, which results in a dog’s lungs overworking themselves. As a result of this, your dog experiences shortness of breath.
If you see your dog experiencing difficulty in breathing at strange moments such as when they’re relaxing or sleeping, you should know that something is wrong, especially when it’s not in a moment when they’re exhausted. Dogs with heart diseases will stand or sit with their legs wide apart, or perhaps with their necks stretching out. Sitting or standing for long periods of time can cause shortness of breath as well in dogs with heart diseases.
If your dog’s body isn’t getting the necessary amount of oxygen, it’s bound to get them more fatigued and exhausted. Dogs that suffer from heart diseases will get tired more quickly and will either restrain from any physical activities or will want to make them stop soon since their bodies become incapable of engaging in anything physically strenuous for longer periods of time.
Whenever you see your beloved dog struggling to engage in activities he/she previously loved, you should know there’s something wrong. Of course, it can at times be attributed to old age, however, if something as fun as walks tend to become shorter, it usually points to a heart disease.
5. Behavioral Changes
Does your dog seem restless or isolated? Does he/she appear disinterested in activities they enjoyed engaging in previously? Do they seem moody, agitated, or perhaps even quieter than usual? If the answer to these questions is yes and you’re witnessing your dog display changes in their normal behavior, then these are usually symptoms of a heart disease.
6. Loss of Appetite
Most dogs love the time of the day when they get to have their meals. They get excited and wait impatiently for their delicious treats. However, if a dog is suffering from a heart disease, chances are that they will experience a loss of appetite as well. When you see your dog seeming disinterested in the food being served to them, it should usually be taken as a sign for heart disease.
This loss of appetite leads to weight loss as well, which is yet another symptom of a dog experiencing some form of heart disease. The opposite of this is also applicable, wherein your dog displays rapid weight gain. Weight gain in dogs with a heart condition doesn’t just mean normal chubbiness, but rather bloating and a swollen belly. This bloating or belly swelling is the result of fluid building up in the abdomen of the dog, because the flow of blood has been blocked due to poor blood circulation.