Just like in us “two-leggers”, a heart condition in our furry friend may not always be obvious to a pet owner until it’s too late. You can see a problem with your pet’s eyes and ears or skin easily, but how do you know how healthy your pet’s heart is?
The heart is basically a muscle. If there is a problem with it, it generally has to work harder to do the same job of pumping blood to the vital organs of the body. When it works harder, it generally can become enlarged (like building muscle). That’s somewhat of a good thing at first since this is why a problematic heart can “cope” with the problem…at least until it’s too late.
Why is this important? Think about lifting weights. You pick a weight you can lift for say, 10 repetitions. After 10, you can maybe go a few more but eventually you won’t be able to lift it again until you rest the muscles. Well, the heart can’t “stop and rest”. If it does, it is called heart failure. Not good. So, we need to detect a heart problem while it is in the stage where it still can pump but may be working too hard. If we do this, we can improve its function and help your pet live longer. Many heart diseases if caught early, can be successfully treated, which is good news.
Hopefully, this won’t even happen to your pet. It is, however, nice to know if everything is alright. This is why we emphasize the importance of doing a physical examination which includes a heart check at your pet’s annual health check. We listen to the heart to see if it is beating right and better yet, with our wellness testing that includes an ECG (Electrocardiogram) screening, we even get a better look at your pet’s ticker. If your pet already has a heart condition, regular monitoring of it is important in successfully maintaining it.
So, make sure to schedule your pet’s annual health exam and let’s work together to help your companion live a longer, healthier life!
P.S. Heartworm prevention is vital to a healthy heart. Don’t forget to give your dog and cat heartworm preventative medication!