Canine Cardiology

Canine Cardiology

Various canine breeds are more susceptible to certain health conditions than others. Some of these conditions mirror those found in humans. Certain diseases show high prevalence in particular dog breeds, significantly impacting a dog's quality of life and longevity. At La Jolla Veterinary Hospital, we understand that our canine companions deserve the best care possible. That is why we offer a wide range of dog veterinary services, including canine cardiology.

Did you know that dogs get heart disease just like their human companions? Heart disease is a significant cause of mortality and morbidity in dogs. Millions of dogs in the U.S. have cardiac disease. This condition is almost as common in dogs as it is in humans. But unlike humans, a fatty diet and smoking are not risk factors.

Heart Disease in Dogs

Valvular disease is the most common form of heart disease in canines. It typically affects small breed canines over five years old and makes up between 70 percent and 75 percent of cardiac disease in canines.

The American Veterinary Medical Association suggests cardiac disease affects about one in ten dogs worldwide. Left untreated, this condition can lead to heart failure. Cardiac disease in dogs can be either acquired or congenital.

Acquired heart disease often occurs in middle-aged to senior dogs due to wear and tear on the heart's structures. It can also result from an infection or injury. Congenital heart disease in canines, on the other hand, is present at birth. Dogs can also inherit it from their parents.

Symptoms of Heart Disease in Dogs

Some of the most common signs of cardiac disease in dogs include:

  • Swollen stomach.

  • Lack of energy.

  • Collapse and fainting.

  • Sudden weight loss or weight gain.

  • Frequent coughing.

  • Reduced appetite.

  • Breathing difficulties.

Smaller dog breeds like cocker spaniels, dachshunds, and poodles are more likely to develop the condition than larger breeds.

What Is Canine Cardiology?

This medical field focuses on treating a dog's cardiovascular system. That includes blood vessels and the heart. A canine cardiologist can diagnose heart problems and develop the appropriate treatment plan for dogs.

A canine cardiologist is also knowledgeable about lung problems and other conditions or diseases within the chest cavity. A general veterinarian can diagnose and treat many illnesses. However, treating cardiac disease requires thorough, specialized training in canine cardiology. At La Jolla Veterinary Hospital, we have a team of highly-trained and experienced canine cardiologists.

Congenital Heart Disease in Canines

Cardiac disease can lead to congenital heart failure. That is when the heart has trouble pumping blood to the rest of the body. So if you notice any symptoms of heart disease in your pooch, let your veterinarian know as soon as possible.

A cardiac exam is the best way to detect cardiac disease in a dog. Our canine cardiologists can use the following tools and procedures during a cardiac exam:

  • Electrocardiogram.

  • Physical exam.

  • Blood pressure test.

  • Ultrasound.

  • Blood analysis.

  • X-rays.

The clinical symptoms of the disease usually depend on the severity and type of heart disease. But sometimes, there may be no symptoms at all. As the condition progresses to cognitive heart failure, your dog will exhibit more visible symptoms. If you notice any of the symptoms listed above, have one of our veterinarians examine your dog immediately.

For more on canine cardiology, visit La Jolla Veterinary Hospital at our office in La Jolla, California. Call (858) 454-6155 today to schedule an appointment.

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