Your dog or cat's heart is one of the most important organs in their body. The heart is responsible for pumping life-giving blood, nutrients, and oxygen to every other organ in the body. Believe it or not, some animals are susceptible to heart disease. Heart disease means any condition that disrupts normal function of the heart and vascular system to deliver oxygenated blood to the body; which includes cardiomyopathy (disease of the heart muscle), arrhythmia (irregular beating), and valvular disease (causing heart murmurs).
While some pets inherit heart disease, others develop it later in life. Thankfully, many types of heart disease are treatable, especially if caught early. Left untreated, heart disease may lead to congestive heart failure sooner, a condition where the heart becomes weak and inefficient.
What are the signs of Heart Disease?
Accurately diagnosing congestive heart failure and its cause is accomplished through chest X-rays, ECG, ultrasound, and other tests (such as a heartworm antigen test).
To treat congestive heart failure effectively, it is important to first treat any other underlying causes such as Heartworms, bacterial endocarditis, and some forms of congenital heart diseases.
Although your veterinarian will tailor the treatment plan to your pet's needs, many options will include a low-sodium diet, appropriate medications to help blood flow and prevent cardiac arrhythmias, and restrictive exercise.