Early diagnosis of the various acquired or congenital heart diseases that can affect both dogs and cats is one of the priority objectives of current veterinary cardiology. There are different heart diseases that our pets can suffer from, and for this reason it is very important to know what their symptoms are and to be able to detect them in time. It is essential to carry out a control of your pet’s cardiovascular system, to prevent any state of the heart from leading to a serious heart problem.
The 6 most common heart diseases in pets.
In domestic animals, such as dogs and cats, the appearance of cardiac pathologies from middle age is common. Despite the advances in current veterinary medicine, mortality from these problems can be high. For this reason, as we always recommend, preventive medicine and a routine control of your pet will help prevent any cardiovascular problem in pets. Some of the most common cardiovascular diseases are summarized in the following list:
- Valvular disease: One of the most common heart diseases among dogs. Due to the passing of the years, the valves of the heart stop working perfectly, they become insufficient and filter blood when the heart pumps.
- Pericardial disease: Also common among dogs and would be summarized in the accumulation of fluid in the protective sac of the heart.
- Myocarditis: It is caused by an inflammation in the heart that weakens it and enlarges the muscle. It can have an infectious or inflammatory origin.
- Dirofilariasis or Heartworm Disease: A disease transmitted by carrier mosquitoes.
- Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy: A common disease in cats that occurs when the walls of the heart become too thick and prevent proper function of the heart.
- Systemic arterial hypertension: A disease that leads to an increase in the blood pressure of animals and that can have consequences for the heart, but also the brain, eyes and kidneys.
Symptoms that indicate heart problems in pets
This type of heart disease is usually detected by observing changes in the behavior or physical activity of pets and the most common symptoms are:
- Difficulty breathing normally. They usually develop more agitated breathing and especially at night.
- Persistent cough, especially in dogs.
- Weight changes. They can manifest both weight gain and loss, since heart disease can cause loss of appetite or poor digestion of food.
- Persistent agitation and apathy when performing physical exercise. This is a very significant symptom showing abnormal tiredness and agitation in animals that used to be very active.
Ruling out heart diseases is essential for those animals that are going to reproduce, since these diseases are usually genetically transmitted. Equally important is the orientation of veterinary cardiology towards the classification of diseases that usually appear in older pets. If timely treatment and follow-up is established, the probability of recovery, life expectancy and ultimately a positive outcome of the disease increases exponentially.
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