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Heart Disease in Dogs

Heart problems, signs, diagnosis and treatment of heart problems in cats


Heart disease in dogs is common. Dogs with heart disease and heart failure may cough, tire easily, and have a loss of appetite. Learn to recognize the signs of heart problems in dogs, various causes, diagnostic and treatment options, and how to manage your heart patient dog at home.

Related: Heart Disease in Cats

1. Causes of Heart Disease in Dogs

Photo courtesy of epSos.de/Flickr.com

Heart disease is dogs is commonly encountered. There are many potential causes of canine heart disease and, depending on the severity of the disease, any form of heart disease can lead to heart failure.

2. Heartworm Disease

tanakawho Flickr

Signs of heartworm disease are caused by damage to the heart and blood vessels as a result of the heartworms living in them. In addition, the body's attempt to rid itself of the worms results in chronic immune stimulation, which further complicates the disease.

3. Signs of Heart Disease in the Dog

Photo Courtesy of Tobyotter/Flickr.com

eart failure is a common complication of heart disease in dogs. Though canine heart disease includes many different types of conditions, all forms of heart disease can ultimately cause heart failure.

4. Diagnosing Heart Disease and Failure

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Diagnosing heart disease and/or heart failure in the dog and cat requires a combination of several different testing methods.

5. Treating Heart Disease and Heart Failure in Dogs

Java - she had some seizures - by D'Arcy Norman on Flickr
by D'Arcy Norman on Flickr

There are many different drugs that are used to treat heart disease and heart failure in dogs and cats. The medications chosen will depend on the type of heart disease present, the overall health of your dog or cat, and the severity of the heart disease.

6. Home Care of a Dog with Heart Disease or Heart Failure

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Dogs that have heart disease need special care and monitoring at home. Proper care and monitoring of your dog at home can help delay the onset of heart failure and help alert you if your pet's condition worsens.

7. Is Heart Disease the Same as Heart Failure?

Ralph - by greenkozi on Flickr
by greenkozi on Flickr

Heart disease is commonly diagnosed in both dogs and cats and the diagnosis can be disturbing and confusing for pet owners. The differences between heart disease and heart failure are important to recognize.

8. Heart Murmurs in Dogs

Photo Courtesy of _JuanaBanana/Flickr.com
Photo Courtesy of _JuanaBanana/Flickr.com

Typically, the normal dog heart makes a characteristic "lub-dub" sound as the heart beats. When a heart murmur is present, there will be an abnormal whooshing or swishing noise made during the course of the beat, rather than a crisp "lub-dub" sound.

9. Intro to Valvular Heart Disease in Dogs

Photo Courtesy of Shames Privacy/Flickr.com
Photo Courtesy of Shames Privacy/Flickr.com

One of the most common types of heart disease seen in dogs is degenerative valvular disease, where the heart valves fail, causing blood flow to back up. It is estimated that degenerative valve disease accounts for approximately 75% of all heart disease in dogs.

Learn about heart anatomy, valve function and about the different types of valvular heart disease in this article.


10. Valvular Heart Disease - Diagnosis and Monitoring

Photo courtesy of tobyotter/Flickr.com

Proper diagnosis of any illness begins with a thorough physical examination and history, although other testing may be required for a definitive diagnosis.

Dogs diagnosed with degenerative heart valve disease need to monitored for progress or worsening of the disease. While your veterinarian will want to continue to monitor your dog with periodic examinations and radiographs of the chest, you should also monitor your dog at home.

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