Cardiomyopathy in pets is a serious disease, which causes muscles of the heart to become inflamed and fail to work properly. This, in turn, can affect not only the heart, but the lungs, liver and other systems as well. There are two forms of the condition, and they are dilated and hypertrophic cardiomyopathy.
How Cardiomyopathy Affects Your Pet
In the case of hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, the heart's chamber walls thicken preventing the heart from pumping properly. While this form of heart disease can be quite serious and can cause cardiac failure, it is quite rare in canines. On the other hand, dilated cardiomyopathy is very common in dogs. If a dog has dilated cardiomyopathy, the chambers of the heart enlarge and the muscles of the heart stretch and become very thin. This form of the disease is the most common cause of congestive heart failure in dogs, and it can affect either one or both sides of the heart.
Common Symptoms of Cardiomyopathy
Symptoms of Cardiomyopathy in Pets: Shortness of Breath, Excessive Panting, Coughing, Lethargy, Distended Abdomen, Lack of Appetite and/or Weight Loss, Discomfort While Lying Down and Inability to Run and Play. It is essential to note that early on in the disease there may be no visible signs of the condition. However, if your pet shows any of the above symptoms, you need to seek emergency care immediately. Your veterinarian will likely perform an x-ray, ultrasound and/or an ECG before making a diagnosis.
Treatments for Cardiomyopathy
While there is no cure for cardiomyopathy, there are several treatments that can control the symptoms and make your dog more comfortable. Typically, veterinarians will prescribe various medications for you to administer to your pet at home. Some of the medications your vet may prescribe include Lasix, Enalapril, Digoxin and various Calcium channel and Beta blockers. Nutritional supplements may also be recommended, which can include L-carnitine, Taurine and Coenzyme Q-10. Other treatments that may help your pet include oxygen therapy, Furosemide, dietary changes and light exercise programs. The exact treatment that your pet may require though, depends on how far the disease has progressed.
While most any breed of dog can experience this form of heart disease, it is most common in large and giant breeds. Typically, dogs will experience their first symptoms between two and five years old but some can show first signs when they are as old as ten. Breeds commonly affected by Cardiomyopathy are Boxers, Great Danes, Doberman Pinschers, Afghan and Irish Hounds, German Shepherds, Saint Bernards, Springer and Cocker Spaniels, Portuguese Water Dogs, Scottish Deerhounds, Old English Sheepdogs, Newfoundlands and Dalmations.
When adding a dog or cat to your family you want to make sure your pet is happy, healthy and protected. During its lifetime your pet is exposed to many illnesses and diseases and some breeds are affected by a congenital disease which is a condition existing at birth. At these moments when your pet is ill or maybe needs surgery, you want to be protected for the unexpected and high veterinarian costs.