Keep Your Pet’s Heart Healthy

Keep Your Pet’s Heart Healthy

Tomorrow 29th of September 2020 marks World Heart Day

There’s no doubt about it, pets well and truly steal our hearts and build an unbreakable bond with us. One way of protecting that very special relationship is to make sure that our pet’s heart is strong and healthy.

With ‘World Heart Day’ taking place on 29 September, now’s the time for owners to be aware of the signs of heart disease and check they’re doing everything possible to keep their pets’ ticker in tip-top shape.

PDSA vet, Olivia Anderson-Nathan, says: “Pets can suffer with similar illnesses to people, and their hearts are no different. Everything we do to look after our hearts applies to our pets too – so a balanced diet, regular exercise and annual check-ups at your local vets will keep them in good condition and make sure any heart problems are detected as early as possible.

“Sadly, some breeds, such as Cavalier King Charles Spaniels, and certain large breeds like Dobermans, Boxers and Great Danes, are more prone to developing serious heart conditions. If you own or are thinking of getting one of these you should do your research and ask your vet about screening tests. Too much or not enough of certain nutrients can also cause heart problems, so eating a complete, commercial diet can prevent or even reverse heart disease due to nutritional problems.”

Some pets with heart disease have problems with their heart from birth or might have a heart problem that’s been passed on from their parents. Others develop issues as they get older and the valves in their heart don’t work as well.

Even with the best care, we can’t always prevent our pets suffering from heart problems. However, an early diagnosis can increase the chances of successfully managing the condition, so annual checkups with your vet are also recommended, with more frequent visits if your pet is older or has other health problems.

Signs of heart disease can include:

  • Slowing or stopping on walks
  • Heavy breathing or breathlessness
  • Breathing a lot faster than normal, even when they’re resting
  • Coughing
  • Falling over or fainting suddenly (often while exercising or excited)
  • A bloated stomach (caused by fluid build-up in the abdomen)

A lot of these symptoms can also be caused by other conditions, which your vet will be able to rule out.

Olivia added: “Although most heart disease cannot be cured, with the right vet care, symptoms can be reduced and many pets can continue to have good quality of life for months to come.

“Regular check-ups from the vet are essential to stabilise any heart condition. Treatment usually involves medication, appropriate diet and exercise along with a consistent daily routine that avoids any unnecessary changes and stresses can help.”

PDSA is the UK’s leading vet charity. We’re on a mission to improve pet wellbeing through prevention, education and treatment. Support from players of People’s Postcode Lottery helps us reach even more pet owners with vital advice and information.

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