Last week we discussed Mitral Valve Problems, which is a specific heart issue that affects many pets, but today I wanted to give an overview of heart problems in general. Unfortunately, there is a vast range of conditions and afflictions of the heart and these problems can affect virtually any cat or dog breed.
Some of the more common heart conditions are congenital heart defects, irregular heartbeats, heart disease, and congestive heart failure. Depending on the severity of the condition, pets could exhibit no symptoms or severe symptoms such as respiratory distress.
To diagnosis a heart condition, a veterinarian will need a full history of the pet from the owner, including possible incidents that might have preceded the condition. He or she may also conduct a variety of test such as a urinalysis and a complete blood profile. At this point, the veterinarian will determine what type of heart condition the pet is suffering from and determine a treatment plan based on that diagnosis.
Treatment could be as simple as a change in diet and limited exercise or as severe as surgery and lifelong medications.
The following are signs of a variety of different heart conditions. If your pet experiences any of these, or especially two or more of these symptoms at once, it’s advised that you visit your veterinarian as soon as possible.
- Trouble breathing
- Swelling in the abdomen and legs
- Lack of appetite
- Weight loss
- Rapid or irregular pulse
- Fainting after exercise
Has your pet suffered from issues related to the heart? Please share your story.