Dogs, just like humans, regularly suffer from a condition. One type of condition that is fairly common in dogs is heart disease. A dog can suffer from, among other things, a heart murmur, leaky heart valves, and rhythm disturbances of the heart. Fortunately, most illnesses can be largely cured by medicines.
Heart murmurs and leaking heart valves
Most heart problems in dogs are caused by abnormalities of the heart valves. These problems often arise over the years. Older dogs are therefore more likely to suffer from leaky heart valves than younger dogs. With a leaky heart valve, some blood flows back with each heartbeat instead of all the blood being pumped around every time. In this way, blood circulation in the body decreases, and fluid builds up in the lungs or in other organs such as the liver.
A heart murmur is a narrowing of the heart valves or the surrounding blood vessels. This is something that is not age-related. Heart murmurs have the same effect on blood circulation as a leaky heart valve. Heart murmurs are most common in dogs that have an adult body weight of fewer than 20 pounds.
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Tiredness quickly and an excessive amount of coughing are symptoms of a heart murmur and leaky heart valves.
A vet will be able to hear abnormalities such as a murmur or an abnormal sound with a stethoscope. The normal heartbeat is often drowned out by this noise.
To determine the severity of the problem, a vet will check the heart valves and blood flow in the heart by means of echocardiography. Any blood circulation abnormalities can be measured and assessed. A heart film or an X-ray examination can also be very useful. Based on good research, a vet will determine the best treatment for the dog.
Medication can ensure that the heart rhythm function is supported for several months to years. At some point, the disorder gets so bad that even this won’t help.
Arrhythmias heart disease
Arrhythmias in the dog can occur with the abnormal electrical activity of the heart. The heart can beat faster or slower than normal. Sometimes the heart will beat very irregularly. When the heart beats too fast, it cannot fill optimally between two different heartbeats, this has a negative effect on blood circulation.
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The same is also true when the heart pumps too slowly, the blood does not circulate through the body fast enough. Dogs that have a disturbed electrolyte path as a result of another disease can sometimes suffer from cardiac arrhythmias. Burns, Addison’s disease, and gastrointestinal disorders can lead to increased potassium levels. This causes the heart to beat less quickly than normal.
There is often a general weakening of the body. A dog will also experience weight loss because it has fewer food cravings due to constant panting to get enough air.
Cardiac arrhythmias can very well be demonstrated by means of a heart film. By means of an ECG, you can observe exactly how each part of the heart beats and whether there are any abnormalities.
Sometimes the dog’s electrolyte balance will need to be restored. Medicines may also be required that speed up or slow down the heart rhythm. These drugs will help support the heart’s normal electrical activity.