Owners usually notice that their dog occasionally coughs, has difficulty breathing, eats less, and gets tired quickly. Occasionally there is swelling of the abdomen or extremities.
In the summer months, at high temperatures, we need to pay special attention to older dogs, especially if our pet is a heart patient. Heart problems occur as a result of congenital heart defects or degenerative changes in the heart that occur with aging.
Puppies with congenital heart defects generally do not progress properly and usually do not reach adulthood, so we meet much more often with older dogs who have had degenerative changes in the heart valves. The most common breeds are poodle, cocker spaniel, boxer and bulldog and German shepherd. The symptoms of heart disease depend on which part of the heart is affected by degenerative changes.
Owners usually notice that their dog occasionally coughs, has difficulty breathing, eats less, and gets tired quickly. Occasionally there is swelling of the abdomen or extremities. Owners who closely monitor their pet will notice pale mucous membranes and an uneven heartbeat. Thus, owners often notice that their puppy’s “heart is pounding“, which is certainly enough to visit a veterinarian. In severe cases, the dog may collapse. In that case, urgent intervention of a veterinarian is needed. It is a good idea to remind your veterinarian to listen to your dog’s heart at each vaccination to detect any disease as soon as possible.
We examine the diseased dog and diagnose possible irregularities in the work of the heart by listening to the work of the heart and ECG, as well as by ultrasound examination of the heart. Unfortunately, the changes that have occurred in the valves or heart muscle cannot be repaired, but with medication we will improve the work of the heart in the newly created conditions and thus provide the dog with a better quality of life. An important role in these diseases is played by diet, which, like therapy, is individual for each dog.
It is up to the owner to follow the veterinary instructions as closely as possible and to accept the fact that the dog is chronically ill. A dog with heart problems still wants to go for a walk, is looking forward to it as before, and for love you will run for a stick or a ball even though it can cost him his life.
It is up to you to make sure that the walks are short and that the dog is not exposed to any major physical exertion or heat. Prescribed medications should be given several times a day, so before starting therapy we usually consult with the owner to see if therapy is possible at all.