Protecting your Pup’s Heart

 

Did you know that heart disease in pets is almost as common as heart disease in humans?  Pets, large and small can develop heart complications and heart disease.  Here are the best way we can help our fur babies:

 

1.  Knowing the Facts!

 
The most common canine heart diseases are Valvular Disease and Heartworm.

Valvular Disease:

The Heart uses valves to stop the blood for a moment to re-oxygenate the blood before the heart pumps the blood out the heart and circulates the blood around in the body.  These valves also keep the blood flowing in the right direction. When these valves wear and change in shape, the seal they form isn’t as tight as its needs to be, this is when valvular failure occurs. Over time, the heart compensates for the lack of efficiency and enlarges to pump enough blood through the body.  Unfortunately, the heart cannot keep up it and the heart muscles wear out, the walls of the heart become thin and stretched, and the heart fails.

Heartworm:

Our pups can get this disease from a mosquito bite.  Then a mosquito bites an infected pup, (or any other canine species), it ingests the larvae (babies) of the heartworm.  These larvae then matures inside the mosquito to their next life stage.  The mosquito then bites a new pup dog, injecting these larvae into the new pup.  If your pup is not protected by preventative medications, the larvae matures and migrates to the heart, where they attach and grow, slowly filling up the right chambers of the heart.  Heartworm can lead to inflammation of the blood vessels, restricting blood flow and heart failure.

 

2. Know what to be on the lookout for!

 
Symptoms to look out for, but if in doubt, get your pup to the vet.

  • Dry cough after exercise, with a cough that gets worse at night
  • Shortness of breath
  • Rapid weight loss
  • Tiredness – sleeping a lot
  • Fatigue
  • Fainting spells
  • Pale gums
  • Swollen tummy (pot belly)

 

3. The Best Treatment is Prevention!

 

Our Top Tips to keep your pup’s heart healthy!

 

  • Exercise

    The great thing about exercising your pup, its also good for you!  Try two 30 minute spurts of exercise per day.  Even when the weather is not favorable, its important for your pup’s mental and physical health.

  • Balanced and Complete diet

    Check that your pup’s food is balanced and complete, if you do not see this statement on the bag, it may be a supplemental food. A supplemental food is meant to be added to a balanced meal to provide additional nutrition. Many pup parents are not aware that there is a difference and wind up feeding their pups food that lacks imperative nutrition.  If your pet needs to lose weight, it’s always wise to have a chat with your vet who can advise you on an appropriate eating plan.

  • Dental Health

    Keeping your pup’s teeth clean does more than just prevent bad breath!  It protects their hearts, the extra plaque and extra tartar builds up in their mouths and that backup can settle into the heart.

  • Know your Breed

    Read up on your breed, even if it is a mix, some breeds are more prone to specific heart conditions than others.

  • Regular Vet checks

    Vet check ups can identify issues before they become chronic and end up being major issues.

  • Year round Heartworm protection

    Keeping your pup up to date with regular heartworm medication, paired with regular vet check-ups is the best way to ensure their health is optimised.  Although heartworm disease can be treated, it is much easier to prevent it in the first place.

 
 
 
 

Disclaimer from our Blog Post Writer, Tequila:

I am not a veterinarian.  Any advice given by us on PupPost should not be used in place of professional medical care, to diagnose or treat any illness. Our articles are NOT intended as a substitute for regular veterinary. If you think your pup is ill or hurt, or just seeking further information, please contact your veterinarian!