Animals not only help us enjoy our recreational time, they also have beneficial effects on human health and well being. Dogs are often integral family members, and their good health is important. Yet dogs may suffer from one of the same diseases that may affect so many humans: heart disease.
Heart disease and heart failure
Any abnormality of the structure and function of the heart can lead to heart disease. There are different forms of heart disease (e.g. valvular heart disease, dilated cardiomyopathy) and the causes for heart disease are variable (e.g. infection, degeneration, congenital).Long lasting and severe heart disease can lead to heart failure. This is when the heart is no longer able to pump blood forward at a sufficient rate to meet metabolic demands of the body. In congestive heart failure (CHF) blood is damming back behind the failing heart into either pulmonary or systemic circulation.
What are the signs of heart failure?
Heart failure is characterized by clinical signs, which result from the poor functioning of the cardiovascular system. The clinical signs seen most frequently by owners are coughing, tiredness, exercise intolerance, loss of appetite and weight, dyspnoea and abdominal distention. If your dog is exhibiting any of these signs you should consult a veterinarian.