According to the American Heart Association, heart disease and stroke are the leading causes of death worldwide. Heart problems are on the rise among our four-legged friends as well, making pet heart health a growing concern among veterinarians and pet owners.
At Clairmont Animal Hospital, your pet’s wellness is our top priority and we hope to empower all of our clients to take the very best care of their pets’ hearts!
Common Pet Heart Problems
Human heart disease generally manifests in the form of heart attacks and strokes, but heart problems in pets take on different forms, including:
- Congenital heart disease—These are problems a pet is born with, sometimes requiring surgery if the condition is serious enough.
- Arrhythmia—Changes in the normal rhythm of the heart, known as Arrhythmia, can have serious consequences for pets. A pet may even need to have a pacemaker installed if the problem is severe.
- Hypertension—Humans aren’t the only ones who can suffer from high blood pressure; pets can fall victim to this dangerous condition as well, putting them at risk for serious health problems.
- Heartworm disease—Heartworms are infectious parasites transmitted by mosquitoes. Once a pet is infected, the worms migrate to the heart and lungs where they grow and proliferate, leading to heart, lung disease, and even death.
- Cardiomyopathy—Cardiomyopathy happens when an abnormality occurs in the muscle tissue that comprises the heart. Cardiomyopathy is more common in cats (although certain breeds of dogs can be affected) and may lead to embolisms, blood clots, or other serious problems.
- Valvular disease—Problems with any of the four valves that control blood flow in the heart can create a disruption in the normal functioning of the heart. A buildup of bacteria caused by dental disease may contribute to valvular disease.
Pet Heart Health Begins with You
Although pet heart disease isn’t always preventable, you support your pet’s heart health in the following ways:
- Diet and exercise—Obesity is prevalent among pets, and is one of the leading causes of heart disease. A high quality diet served in the portion size that best meets your pet’s needs, along with daily exercise, is key to maintaining a healthy weight for your pet. Your veterinarian will be happy to help you come up with a diet and exercise plan designed to support pet heart health.
- Heartworm prevention—Year-round parasite prevention is crucial in preventing the devastating effects of heart disease. If you haven’t started your pet on a heartworm preventive yet, give us a call.
- Oral hygiene—There is a strong link between dental health and heart disease in pets. Good home care in the form of daily brushing and a high quality diet, along with regular professional dental examinations and cleanings, will keep your pet’s mouth in tiptop shape.
- Wellness care—Adhere to your pet’s regularly scheduled wellness exams, and don’t hesitate to contact us if you suspect your pet has a problem. Heart conditions are much easier to manage if they are caught early on.
If you have any questions or concerns about pet heart health, please give your friends at Clairmont Animal Hospital a call.