Posts Tagged ‘heart disease in pets’

What are heart conditions?

     The heart is the most important organ in your pet’s body. It pumps blood containing oxygen and nutrients through the blood vessels to the cells of the body. Most heart conditions involve a decrease in the effective pumping of blood. This can lead to a buildup of fluid in the chest and abdomen.

What are the two main heart conditions?

     Chronic valvular disease: A leaking heart valve reduces the quantity of blood that can be pumped around the body. More common in dogs.

     Myocardial disease: In this condition, weakness or thickening of the heart muscle results in the heart pumping less efficiently. More common in cats.

What causes heart conditions? 
These are a few contributors:

  • Age: Heart conditions in pets occur more frequently with increasing age.
  • Body condition: Overweight cats and dogs are more likely to develop heart disease.
  • Breed: In dogs, chronic valvular disease is more common in small breeds like miniature poodles, cocker spaniels, Pomeranians and Schnauzers. Myocardial disease is more common in large and giant breeds like Great Danes and Irish Wolfhounds. In cats, Persian, Maine Coon and American shorthair breeds seem more likely to suffer from myocardial disease.

What are common signs of heart disease?

  • Tired, lack of energy
  • Fainting or collapsing
  • Reduced ability to exercise
  • Breathing difficulties (dyspnea)
  • Frequent coughing
  • Reduced appetite, weight loss
  • Abdominal swelling
  • Partial paralysis of the hind leg (cats)

Why does the vet recommend Hill’s Prescription Diet?

     Hill’s h/d has low sodium, to lower the workload on the heart by reducing fluid retention in the body, and it contains taurine and L-Carnitine to support heart function.  Added nutrients replenish those lost through the use of diuretics.

     Hill’s g/d and k/d have controlled sodium levels to maintain normal blood pressure, appropriate for pets in the early stages of a heart condition.
Information taken from Hill’s Pet Nutrition pamphlet “Heart Health,” available at our clinic.

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