Heart Failure In Dogs & Other Problems
Heart failure in dogs and other problems that can occur with a dogs heart can be manageable.
The heart is a muscle. It has four chambers, two on the right and two on the left. These chambers work together with the organ’s valves to pump blood throughout the body via blood vessels. This blood fuels the rest of the body and helps to keep it functioning properly.
Heart failure in dogs can have much the same effect as in humans. Life cannot be sustained without a functioning heart. This is a significant and serious problem in the canine population and accounts for many deaths each year. In dogs, issues typically manifest as heart failure as opposed to a heart attack. The contrast between the two is that an attack is sudden whereas failure occurs gradually and progressively over time.
Heart problems in dogs can be detected from the exhibition of various symptoms. Different problems will be associated with different symptoms. Lack of energy, general fatigue, not wanting to exercise and an increased amount of sleep are some possible signs to look for. Other signs include excessive panting, appetite and weight loss. Observing one or more of these symptoms does not definitely indicate that your dog is having heart problems, but they do warrant a trip to the veterinarian for evaluation.
Diagnosis of heart problems in dogs can take on a variety of forms. A physical examination will be conducted and some tests will be run. During the physical exam, the veterinarian will listen for any sign of a heart murmur. The battery of tests may include an electrocardiogram to check for arrhythmia, which are irregular beats. This test is not painful to the dog and can give a good picture of what is going on. Chest x rays and ultrasound are also used quite often in diagnosis. If a problem is detected, further testing may be required to learn more about the specific situation and to determine a course of treatment.
The cause of heart problems in dogs can be congenital or acquired. In the congenital form, the dog is born with the problem. The acquired form can be a result of simple wear and tear as the dog ages. Whatever the cause, treatments do exist to help them continue to live a happy and healthy life.
Certain medications can be used to restore a normal rhythm if that is the problem. Surgery is sometimes indicated. Fluid retention can be managed through diet and exercise can help eliminate extra weight that may be putting added pressure on the heart.
Diet and exercise also play an important role in treatment. I am a firm believer in this, especially exercise which gets the heart pumping. I have always given my old dog Pippa plenty of exercise off the lead throughout her life and this is one part of her which, according to veterinary examinations, is still very healthy.
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