By bringing a dog into the house, a person takes responsibility for its life and health. And the animal responds to the care - it becomes not just a companion, but also a friend of the owner, and sometimes a member of his family. Unfortunately, animal life is usually much faster than human life, and four-legged friends, like humans, are prone to stress and heart disease. An attentive and caring owner is able to help his pet and significantly extend its life, if only he knows what troubles outwardly rather harmless and inconspicuous symptoms can turn out to be.
Heart disease in dogs is a common problem that significantly affects the life span of an animal. Dogs of some breeds - Boxers, Dobermans, St. Bernards, Newfoundlands, Great Dane - are especially prone to their occurrence. Dogs of the older age category also automatically fall into the risk zone.
Cardiac pathologies are divided into congenital and acquired defects as a result of complications after diseases or injuries. Congenital defects appear before the age of one year and quite often lead to the death of the animal. At this age, the problems are characterized by the following symptoms: the puppy sleeps a lot and eats poorly, which is why it gains little weight. He may be active, but after running or playing, he breathes for a long time with his mouth open and he develops a cough. After coughing fits, the animal becomes lethargic. Shortness of breath may be persistent, i.e. manifest itself not only during physical activity or emotional arousal, but also at rest. Fainting is also possible, the puppy's tongue becomes cyanotic.
In a dog that does not have congenital abnormalities, symptoms of heart failure can appear as early as 6-7 years of age. If you notice that your dog gets tired faster and has shortness of breath, contact your veterinarian. Shortness of breath is the very first and always present sign of beginning changes in the cardiac activity of an animal, it is very important not to miss it. Of course, the appearance of shortness of breath can be triggered by some other processes - fever, poisoning, indigestion, and various pains.
If the doctor confirms your concerns, immediately reduce physical activity, change the diet. Feed the animal 3-4 times a day in small portions. The help of a specialist and the sensitive attitude of the dog owner to the problem at the initial stage of its development can stop negative processes in the animal's body and significantly improve its health.
If you leave these symptoms unattended, then the situation will only get worse. A cough will appear, bouts of shortness of breath and coughing will be longer, and the intervals between them will be shorter and shorter. Fainting may appear. All this is hard not to notice and you cannot do without the help of a veterinarian. The treatment will take a long time. If, for some reason, these signs have remained unnoticed, further events may develop according to the worst scenario. The dog will have to be treated for the rest of its life and, possibly, unsuccessfully.
There are other signs that indicate the presence of cardiac pathology - weakness, refusal to eat, lack of coordination, unsteady gait, rare breathing. But, of course, a specialist should make a diagnosis on the basis of an examination.
In older animals, cardiac pathologies are especially common. Prescribing vitamins, medications, and veterinarian advice on nutrition and exercise for aging animals can greatly improve the well-being of your four-legged friend.