Pets can get heart disease too. There are various reasons why a dog or cat could have a heart condition. Sometimes, it can be related to improper diet and exercise. Dogs are susceptible to heartworm diseases. Understanding heart disease in dogs and cats and the different types of pet heart conditions is vital in preventing your pet from getting seriously ill.
Pet Heart Conditions
Congenital diseases and conditions that have to do with the heart are present at birth. These pets may typically have abnormalities with heart valves or ducts. Some dogs with mild congenital defects may only have mild symptoms, like a heart murmur. Dogs and cats with more serious defects may have exercise intolerance, stunted growth and even fainting spells. Sometimes, surgical intervention is necessary.
- Heartworm Diseases
Most dog owners are aware of the dangers of heartworms. These parasites can infect a dog’s heart and bloodstream. Dogs can get this disease when they are bitten by mosquitoes. The mosquito’s saliva can carry heartworm larvae. The larvae can be carried throughout the bloodstream. The larvae then grow into adult worms in the heart. Early veterinary treatment is absolutely vital. It is important for dog owners to keep their dogs on a heartworm preventative year-round. A veterinarian can prescribe an appropriate heartworm preventative for dogs and dosage schedule. Cats are less likely to get heartworm diseases. It is important to raise any concerns during routine veterinary visits.
- Heart Disease in Cats
Heart disease in cats may be more difficult to notice. Many cats appear asymptomatic to their owners. If a cat appears weak and lethargic with a decrease in appetite or difficulty breathing, it may be showing signs of heart disease or congestive heart failure. Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy is seen quite commonly in cats. Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy occurs when the walls and ventricles of the heart become too thick. Some breeds can be predisposed to this condition.
- Pet Obesity
Pet obesity is just as dangerous as human obesity. It can contribute to high blood pressure, diabetes, arthritis and even congestive heart failure. Pet owners are encouraged to get their dogs and cats on healthy diets. Heart-health in pets can also benefit from a regular exercise schedule. Speaking with one’s veterinarian about a healthy diet and exercise program is important.
Ultimately, there are many different factors that can cause or exacerbate heart disease in pets. Regularly scheduled visits with a veterinarian are important to overall pet health. Learning more about heart health in pets is a great way to prepare for potential veterinary appointments. Early intervention coupled with a good diet and exercise plan are the best ways to ensure one’s pet has optimal heart health.