Let’s have a heart to heart
Heart problems sadly affect pets as well as people. Heart disease affects around 10% of cats and dogs in the UK. Early detection is a major factor in helping to manage the condition and increase life expectancy. Often the condition lies undetected until the pet has difficulty maintaining its circulation, leading to signs of congestive heart failure, sudden collapse or even death. Early detection may be life-saving.
“Coughing, or a change in your pet’s ability to exercise, can indicate that the heart is struggling. Breathing can become laboured, or fast and shallow, and your pet might appear tired or less interested in playing or interacting with you. Weakness or wobbliness can also be an indicator and if your pet collapses or appears to faint, even if for a short time, it’s vital you get them checked. Some pets will go off their food, and others might eat more. Both weight loss can be seen as well as weight gain, and all pets with a more rounded tummy should be examined for heart disease.
“We recommend that all pets receive a health check regularly. This will include a heart check, which should be done at least annually, and twice a year for older pets or at-risk breeds. At the check, we’ll listen for abnormal sounds such as murmurs, or irregular heart rhythms. If we pick up any problems, then we will usually recommend further investigation and we have tools that can help us identify the problem quickly, and take action.
A range of materials have been developed to help owners identify and manage heart disease -