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What are the signs that my pet might have a heart problem?
Tiring easily on walks, not wanting to walk as far (exercise intolerance)
Lethargy – sleeping more
Breathlessness, faster breathing, puffing and blowing
A fast heart rate and sometimes an unusual vibration when you feel over the heart (a cardiac thrill)
The colour of the gums inside your pet’s mouth may be pale, grey or blue
Breathing may sound crackly
A swollen abdomen (ascites)
Swelling of the lower legs (oedema)
Weight loss and a poor appetite
Sore joints and fever (endocarditis)
The vet may hear a heart murmur (an abnormal heart sound)
Common heart problems we treat at All Creatures
Mitral valve disease (valvular fibrosis / endocardiosis) - this is caused by a thickening of the valves of the heart and is particularly common in old small breeds of dogs such as Cavalier King Charles Spaniels, Chihuahuas, Poodles, Miniature Schnauzers and Pekingese.
Bacterial endocarditis as a result of dental infections, bite wounds and prostate, joint or womb infections.
Congenital heart problem seen in pups such as patent ductus arteriosis and persistent right aortic arch.
Dilated cardiomyopathy seen in Great Danes, Doberman Pinschers, Irish Wolfhounds, Boxers, Newfoundlands, St. Bernards, Boxers, Dalmatians, Portuguese Water Dogs and Cocker Spaniels. This is a disease of the heart muscles.
Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy in cats
Pericardial effusion-the sac which encloses the heart fills up with blood. This is usually caused by a tumour called a chemodectoa.
Congestive heart failure
Cardiac arrhthymias – irregular heart beats
How we diagnose heart problems at All Creatures
By thorough physical examination
Palpation of the area around the heart
Listening to your pet’s heart with a stethoscope
Using a Doppler to hear the sound of your pet’s heart
Chest x‐rays to evaluate the size and shape of the heart
Electrocardiography (ECG), an ECG measures the electrical impulses of the heart. A normal heartbeat is very obvious and highly predictable on an ECG as are any abnormalities.
Cardiac ultrasound allows us to identify the internal structures of the heart and allows us to assess the movement and thickness of the heart muscles, to assess the valves for lesions or abnormal motion and to check for pericardial effusions.
Blood tests to assess for cardiac damage and to check for other issues that can affect the heart’s function such as hypothyroidism or Addison’s disease.
Blood pressure monitoring
Why chose All Creatures for the care of your pet’s heart problem?
We have facilities to allow strict rest of your pet - this can sometimes make the difference between survival or death.
We have oxygen masks and can hospitalise your pet within an oxygen tent.
Our pharmacy stocks a range of life saving heart medications such as - Diuretics (frusemide, spironolactone, moduretic), Cardiac glycosides (digoxin), ACE inhibitors (benazepril), Bronchodilators (theophylline), newer positive inotropes (pimobendan), Calcium channel blockers (diltiazem), Cough suppressants (codeine)
We have a crash kit available to deal with cardiac arrest
Nutritional support for pet’s with heart problems such as specialist diets (Hill’s H/D diet) and a range of nutritional supplements to assist with healthy heart function eg omega 3 omega 6 fatty acids, taurine
Operating facilities and safe anaesthesia (sevoflo) to carry out thoracotomies and to deal with some surgical cardiac cases such as PDA and pericardial effusion.