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Canine Heart Disease: Recognize the Signs and Save Your Senior Dog’s Life

When your canine was younger, it had near-boundless energy. It would wake you up with slippery licks and kisses, and bound to and fro in the park all day. It was fun and great for you to watch, as you also enjoyed its loyalty, attention and affection.


Now, your beloved pet is older. While it probably retains much of its youthful energy and enthusiasm, age is catching up, and with it, more frequent visits to the vet.


Heart disease is one of the major killers of canines, and an inability to spot the signs may be fatal for your beloved pet. While death is unfortunately inevitable, you can improve the quality of your senior dog’s life by identifying the signs of heart disease before they lead to complications.



Breathing challenges or accelerated respiration

One of the primary signs of heart disease in dogs is respiratory distress. If you notice your canine companion panting excessively, struggling to catch their breath, or breathing rapidly even at rest, it may indicate compromised heart function.


As the heart struggles to pump blood efficiently, fluid can accumulate in the lungs, leading to labored breathing.


Tiredness and decreased vitality

Watch for unusual lethargy or a noticeable decrease in your dog's energy levels. If your once playful and active pooch now appears fatigued, tires easily during walks or playtime, or seems disinterested in activities they used to enjoy, it could result from reduced blood flow and oxygenation caused by heart disease.


Enlargement of the abdomen or limbs

Edema, the fluid accumulation in the abdomen or limbs, is a common sign of heart disease in dogs.


As the heart struggles to pump blood efficiently, fluid can accumulate in various body parts. If you observe swelling in the abdomen or notice your dog's limbs appear puffy, it's essential to consult your veterinarian promptly.


Loss of consciousness or sudden collapse

Episodes of fainting or collapse are alarming signs that should never be ignored. Reduced blood flow to the brain caused by an inefficient heart can lead to these sudden episodes.


If your dog experiences fainting or collapses, especially during moments of excitement or physical exertion, seek immediate veterinary attention to evaluate their cardiac health.


Diminished appetite and decreased body mass

Heart disease can cause a decrease in appetite and subsequent weight loss in dogs. If your once food-loving companion suddenly exhibits a lack of interest in their meals, experiences weight loss without an apparent reason, or displays a notable decrease in overall appetite, it could be related to their cardiovascular health.


Monitoring their eating habits and consulting a veterinarian will help determine the best course of action.


Unsettledness and apprehension

Heart disease can also manifest behavioral changes. Dogs suffering from cardiac issues may become restless, anxious, or exhibit signs of discomfort. They may appear more restless during sleep, struggle to find a comfortable position, or display signs of distress.

These behavioral shifts could be linked to physical discomfort and stress caused by their heart condition.


Say goodbye to your furry friend in the best possible way

While spotting the signs of heart diseases early can prolong and increase your senior dog’s quality of life, the time inevitably comes when you, unfortunately, have to say goodbye.


At River Valley Gateway, we specialize in painless and dignified methods that ease your pet's passing, while making the occasion truly memorable for you. Contact us today.

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