Healthy heart for your pet

Vet's Voice
Kathleen Linpus

As your dog or cat grows older, the risk of heart failure grows too.

The heart is the most important organ in your pet's body, pumping blood containing oxygen and nutrients through the blood vessels to the cells of the body.  Breed and age play a major role in the development of heart conditions, but obesity is also a risk factor.  The signs of heart disease can be subtle and can be mistaken for normal changes due to ageing.

More commonly appearing in pets aged seven and older, signs of heart disease you may notice include:

Coughing,  Lack of energy, depression or not wanting to exercise; Poor appetite; Laboured or fast breathing; Fainting; Weight loss; Swollen abdomen.

In the very early stages of heart disease there may be no visible signs, however, your vet may be able to hear a murmur or irregular heartbeat when they listen to your pet's heart with a stethoscope, or they may be able to hear the crackle of fluid in the lungs. Early diagnosis and treatment means your dog or cat will lead a happier, healthier and longer life.  Your vet can offer medications that reduce lung fluid and help the heart beat more effectively, and have special foods that also help the heart to function better.  See the vet if your pet has any of the signs above.

Your pet holds a special place in your heart. Keeping their heart healthy is very important.


‘Kathleen joined VCT in 2005.  She completed her Veterinary Degree in 2003 and has a special interest in Ophthalmology (eyes) and Oncology (cancer).  She is proud Mum to Pearl & Manny (dogs) and Woof (cat).  Ph VetCare 576 9555 '



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