Pet Tips – Heart Health

While February is known for being Pet Dental Health month, it is also the month of Valentine’s Day and of course lots of hearts. How can you be sure that your pet has a healthy heart?

Here are a few tips: Heartworm disease is a concern not only dogs but also ferrets and even cats. Be sure to have your pets regularly tested and talk to you veterinarian about preventative medications that could save their lives and avoid expensive treatment.

Signs of heart disease in our pet companions may not be the same as what we look for in people, so familiarize yourself with a few of the signs. Coughing, rough or difficult breathing, fainting, hind end weakness and blue-tinged gums are very serious signs that should be investigating immediately, even on an emergency basis. More subtle signs could be a changes in vocalization, changes in appetite, generalized weakness and fluid accumulations known as edema in legs or even in the abdomen giving your pet a “bloated” look. You veterinarian will likely do a good physical exam, auscultation (listening with a stethoscope), radiographs and maybe other testing like blood pressure measurements, ECG readings and even a consult with a heart specialist. If a diagnosis of heart disease is made in your pet, the good news is that there are treatments available. You and your pet can continue to enjoy a better quality of life!