Having a dog is a two way relationship, they offer us so much – companionship, love, and they even help boost our physical and mental wellbeing. In return we do everything we can to make sure they are loved, happy and healthy. On this World Heart Day, it’s important to understand that dogs can be affected by heart conditions too.
Below are some of the top signs of heart disease in dogs (as described by vets), which, if recognised early, will help the condition be managed. Many dogs with managed heart conditions go on to live long and happy lives.
(please note, these symptoms could well relate to other conditions, but should be a prompt to see your vet).
- lack of energy.
- fainting and collapse.
- frequent coughing.
- breathing difficulties.
- reduced appetite.
- sudden weight gain or loss.
- swollen stomach
Below is the story of Ike, a 15/16 year rescue who now lives with cardiovascular disease, but as you read on, you’ll realise that it doesn’t stop him living life to the fullest! His lovely mum takes up the story:
Ike is a rescue originally from Northern Ireland and was, at a rough estimate, about 18 months old. He had obviously lived in a home as he was house trained and from the first day I brought him home he had terrible separation anxiety. As I am self employed we coped with this by him always coming to work with me .
Every day he made me laugh (& others too) – from zoomies down the office corridor, to eating peoples lunches out of their handbags, he has always been a source of great delight in the workplace, and contrary to what people may think about hounds, he enjoyed most of his time quietly spent sleeping under my desk. He was content with a firm routine of morning and afternoon walks at the same time every day.
Apart from the odd accident (ear getting torn on barbed wire, bitten by another dog whilst on a walk etc) he has always been very healthy – then 3 years ago whilst at work he had what I later learnt was a heart attack. On further investigation they found he had a slow growing tumour on his heart and I chose (because of his age ) not to operate. He continues to be keeping very fit – his routine has now changed and instead of coming to work with me he spends his days with a local dog minder where he has the company of many other canine pals during the day – and being almost next door he is being walked in the same fields and woods that he has known all of his adult life. I have chosen to let him live at the pace of life he chooses. He is now I think nearly completely deaf (he hears me only when I am completely close to his ear) but he is still the loving, funny, aloof dog that I have always known though maybe now he has taken on a slightly ‘cantankerous personality’.
He then had a 2nd heart attack in April this year after running around the garden like a crazy thing with another hound – we raced him to the vet and he survived to live another day. He’s slowed down a little but still occasionally doing mad zoomies around the garden and playing with his toys – he’s a fighter and I think he will go when he wants to, but for the time being he is having too much fun and love to cross the rainbow bridge just yet!Tina