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Preventing and treating heart disease with medication, diet, or surgery.

At Alcona Animal Hospital, we are equipped to treat cardiac issues in cats and dogs. The heart is a vital organ which means that heart disease can be life-threatening. Early detection and treatment can improve their quality of life and in some cases can cure their condition.

What causes cardiac disease in pets?

Cats and dogs can develop heart problems due to their diet, weight, lifestyle, age, and genetics. When a pet is born with a heart defect it is congenital, while a cardiac issue developed after birth is acquired. A healthy lifestyle can prevent your pet from developing heart problems later in life.

Are certain breeds more prone to heart disease?

Yes, in both cats and dogs certain breeds often have heart conditions. When providing services and care to these breeds veterinarians can perform regular checks to detect and manage the disease. In dogs, large breeds like Great Danes, Boxers and Dobermans often have cardiomyopathy (larger heart muscle which makes it harder to pump blood). Poodles and Pomeranians can have valve disease, while Cavalier King Charles Spaniels are prone to developing heart murmurs.

As most cats are often mixed-breed, it's difficult to pinpoint which breeds are more susceptible to heart conditions. In feline genetics the experts often check for a gene that codes for heart disease. Bengals, Main Coons, and Rag Dolls are some breeds affected by hypertrophic cardiomyopathy.

How do I know if my pet has a heart condition?

With routine veterinary checkups a heart condition can be diagnosed and treated much earlier. Our team will perform a physical exam which includes listening to the lungs. In addition we will perform an electrocardiogram and chest X-ray to look at the size of the heart. Some telltale symptoms of heart problems in cats and dogs include:

  1. Weight loss
  2. Lethargy
  3. Fainting
  4. Breathing problems
  5. Frequent coughing

To have your pet tested for cardiac issues, reach out to us at 705-431-5570.

How are heart conditions treated?

Based on the patient's diagnosis there are a number of treatments that we may recommend. The options include:

  • Surgery to insert a pacemaker or repair torn valves
  • Medication to correct irregular heartbeats and help the heart function
  • Lifestyle changes such as changed diet to encourage weight loss
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