A Complete Guide to Canine Heart Disease, Including DCM in Dogs
Every honorable pet owner will do whatever it takes to keep his or her pet happy and healthy. Taking the dog for regular walks, giving a dog the care and attention that it so deeply craves, and feeding a canine a diet that improves the overall quality of life are all things that every pet owner needs to be focusing on.
Walks, a healthy diet, and love are a few things that can keep a dog healthy, especially when it comes to heart health. Just like humans, canines can suffer from numerous cardiovascular diseases. DCM in dogs is one of the most common of these heart diseases. This complete guide will let you know more about the prevention and treatment of the most common canine heart diseases.
What is Canine Heart Disease?
Canine heart disease is exactly as it sounds; it is when a canine’s heart is unable to perform in the way it should. As you probably already know from your elementary anatomy class, the heart is the organ that is responsible for pumping blood to the rest of the body. This is an essential bodily function since blood contains oxygen and vital nutrients that the human body requires.
Nearly all heart diseases have to do with the organ’s inefficient ability to pump blood. When this happens, there is a buildup of fluid in the chest an abdomen that will eventually lead to congestive heart failure. This can be caused by many things, which is why there are a variety of heart conditions affecting both humans and canines.
The good news is that nearly all heart conditions can be treated when caught early enough. With the proper medication, nutrition, and exercise, heart disease is almost always treatable, and even preventable with the right lifestyle.
The Main Causes of Canine Heart Disease
Age has a lot to do with heart disease; the heart is not an organ that will last forever, and over time, it is likely to become weakened. This weakening happens faster in some canines than others, mainly due to lack of exercise and overweight body condition. The breed is another factor. For example, there are very specific large dog breeds that are predisposed to the common canine heart disease called DCM.
DCM is a type of myocardial disease, which means it is caused by a weakening of the heart muscles. This weakening makes it difficult for the organ to pump blood. Breed is a huge factor when it comes to DCM in canines; smaller dog breeds are extremely unlikely to develop DCM, while breeds such as Great Danes, Boxers, and Saint Bernards are at a much greater risk.
DCM Diagnosis and Treatment
DCM can be diagnosed with a DCM screening test performed by a veterinary specialist. Once diagnosed, the vet will determine the proper treatment method. This typically includes a mixture of healthy lifestyle changes and medication. Just like with most canine heart diseases, DCM is 100% treatable when caught early enough.