Many of you may have seen Sissy Distler, the Golden Retriever, around the hospital. If she's not in the hospital she's probably taking an afternoon dip in the creek. Sissy is a beloved member of our veterinary hospital!
Over the years Sissy has developed heart disease. At this point her heart disease is controlled with a strict regimen of drugs that help her heart beat more efficiently and constant monitoring. She lives an active lifestyle for an older gal and we hope she spends at least a few more years eating our lunches and greeting our clients!
How can you spot a heart disease in your pets at home?
The clinical signs of heart disease depend on the type of disease and severity. In the early stages heart disease may even be asymptomatic. Unfortunately heart disease progresses to congestive heart failure, which occurs when the heart is unable to meet the body’s demands. A dog may develop more obvious symptoms such as fatigue, reduced willingness to walk or exercise, difficulty breathing, loss of appetite, weight loss, a distended abdomen, trouble sleeping or coughing. If you notice any of these symptoms we should examine your pet as soon as possible.
Early detection of heart disease is typically found at your pet's wellness examinations. We recommend senior pets see a veterinarian at least every six months as they age faster than we do. At wellness examinations the veterinarian listens to your pet's heart. When listening to the heart they are listening for abnormal rhythms and sound such as a heart murmur. These abnormalities can signal to our veterinarians that additional diagnostics are warranted such as blood work, radio-graphs, EKG's, and blood pressures.
Although heart disease may be congenital there are some steps that can be taken to help prevent heart disease. Maintaining good oral health, consistent wellness examinations, and heart worm prevention are the best things we can do to help prevent the occurrence of heart disease.
Keep an eye on your geriatric friends and look for Sissy next time you visit us!