Long Live Our Pets 101: Caring for Heart Healthy Pets
Every single body part is important in its own way, but there is no arguing that the heart and cardiovascular system are essential. One of the key pieces to having happy, healthy pets is supporting their cardiac function. Keep reading to learn what Berks Animal Emergency and Referral Center wants you to know about heart healthy pets.
The Trouble with Heart Problems
Pets and people alike can experience heart problems. In fact, our pet patients suffer from many of the same afflictions that their owners do. Heart trouble in pets may be caused by:
- Dysfunction of the heart valves
- Heart muscle defects
- Congenital problems (defects the pet was born with)
- Hypertension (high blood pressure)
- Heartworm disease
Animals can experience heart attack or stroke, but this is much less frequent than in humans.
Many heart problems can appear similarly. Pets suffering from cardiac disease may have lowered activity levels, coughing, heavy or fast breathing, fainting episodes, reduced appetite, weight loss, or a swollen abdomen. Further testing, including blood tests, radiographs, and ultrasound, are often necessary to diagnose heart trouble.
The Secret to Heart Healthy Pets
Thankfully, there is a lot that you can do to help encourage heart healthy pets. While some cardiac troubles are unavoidable, many of the things that we do directly impact our pets’ hearts. In order to ensure optimal cardiovascular health, be sure to:
- Encourage exercise at appropriate levels for your pet’s ability
- Help your pet maintain a healthy weight
- Provide good nutrition, including high quality omega-3 fatty acids
- Keep your pet on a recommended heartworm preventative plan (dogs and cats alike)
- Be sure to provide consistent dental care for your pet (his or her teeth have a direct impact on the heart!)
- Maintain recommended wellness visits and screening tests
If you think that your pet may be displaying signs of heart trouble, it is also important to have him or her examined right away. Investigating the cause of the symptoms can lead to earlier diagnosis and better treatment options and outcomes.
We are always happy to take a look at your pet, no matter the time of day or night. Be sure to call us right away if you have any concerns. We are committed to doing our part to keep our patients’ hearts healthy.