Las Vegas Pet Scene Magazine - November/December 2015

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Heart Disease in Dogs and Cats By Dr. Nicole McDonagh, DVM Town Center Animal Hospital 3565 S. Town Center Drive Las Vegas, NV 89135

CONGENITAL HEART DISEASE is caused by a heart defect present at birth and can be found on your pet’s first veterinary visit by listening for a heart murmur or abnormal rhythm. Congenital heart diseases are commonly observed in puppies compared to kittens. PatentDuctus-Arteriosis, PDA is commonly inherited in smaller breeds such as Poodles, Yorkshire Terriers, Maltese and Pomeranians, whereas Pulmonic-Stenosis and SubaorticStenosis are seen in larger breeds such as Golden Retrievers, German shepherds, English bulldogs, Boxers and Beagles. If your pet has a heart murmur, it is important to get routine exams to see if the murmur persists. Early detection is critical. Certain defects are surgically correctable, and treatment should be performed before progression and the onset irreversible damage. MITRAL VALVE ENDOCARDIOSIS, also called Myxomatous Valvular Disease, is the most common acquired canine heart disease accounting up to 75% in middle aged to older dogs. Endocardiosis is hereditary in Cavalier King Charles Spaniels and Dachshunds, but also is seen in Chihuahuas, Yorkies, and Maltese. Cavaliers can acquire Endocardisosis as puppies, but the typical age of onset occurs around 10 years. Degenerative changes of the mitral valve lead to left sided heart enlargement, which, if not managed, eventually leads to congestive heart failure. Though a progressive disease, not all dogs will develop clinical signs at the same time. 34

DILATED CARDIOMYOPATHY is a condition affecting heart muscle. The muscle stretches; overtime losing its ability to efficiently contract thus decreasing blood flow to the rest of the body. Large purebreds are mainly affected such as Great Danes, Newfoundlands, St. Bernards, and Great Pyrenees. Causes can be due to nutritional deficiencies, toxins, infectious diseases, and is genetically seen more in Doberman pinschers and Irish wolfhounds. FELINE HYPERTROPHIC CARDIOMYOPATHY is a condition leading to thickening of muscle making up the walls of the heart affecting the ability of the muscle to properly relax, eventually leading to left sided heart enlargement. Causes of HCM are unknown, but are mostly seen in middle-aged males in DHS (domestic shorthair), Maine Coons, Ragdolls, and Persians. Approximately 50% of cats will not have a heart murmur or even exhibit signs such as coughing. HCM cats have increased risk for blood clot formation within the heart. Clot pieces may break off and go to distant locations of the body most commonly the back legs; this leads to severe weakness and pain in the limbs. If your pet has a heart murmur or known CARDIAC DISEASE, common signs to look for are trouble breathing, coughing, exercise intolerance, and fainting. Though these conditions are progressive, they can be medically managed long term. It is important

Las Vegas Pet Scene Magazine • November/December 2015

to have routine exams to monitor progression. Your veterinarian will assess their condition by listening to their chest and taking x-rays to evaluate lungs, heart size and shape. Advanced diagnostics include an echocardiogram and EcG, allowing visualization of the heart chamber sizes, blood pressure, heart rate and rhythm. Try to avoid strenuous exercise or stressful situations for your pet. Avoiding salty treats, and using a diet that is moderately restricted in salt is also ideal for cardiac patients.

TOP 10 SIGNS OF HEART DISEASE 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

Coughing Difficulty Breathing Changes In Behavior Poor Appetite Weight Loss or Gain Fainting/Collapsing Weakness Restlessness Abdominal Swelling Isolation