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Heart Health 101

Heart health 101

Heart disease sneaks up on our pets and most of the time it isn’t until your cat or dog is in heart failure that physical changes are visible.

Signs of heart disease are generally related to a reduced function of the heart. The heart has to work harder and harder over time and without treatment the heart starts to fail.

Regular check ups allow us to detect any changes in the heart. On examination, we may hear a murmur (abnormal blood flow) or an arrhythmia (irregular rhythm). These may be reason for us to perform more tests such as x-rays, ultrasound and an ECG.

Being able to recognise some of the early signs of heart disease at home can also make a big difference to your pet. This allows early medical intervention and can help give your pet the best opportunity for a longer and healthier life.

Signs of heart disease to look out for at home:

Coughing, especially at night or after lying down
Laboured or fast breathing (an increased SRR – see article below)
A reluctance to exercise and tiring more easily on walks
An enlarged abdomen
Weight loss or poor appetite
Weakness or fainting associated with exercise
The good news is that there are a wide range of medications available to help a pet suffering from heart disease. These can keep the heart disease under control and help your pet live a longer and near normal life.

If you think your pet might have a problem with their heart, call us to arrange a check up today.

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