Vet column: Animals can be affected by different types of heart disease – Dorset Echo

Posted: October 27, 2019 at 2:49 pm

This post was added by Alex Diaz-Granados

When you think of heart disease in people you think of heart attacks and angina as humans often suffer from coronary heart disease however in dogs and cats we see all sorts of different heart diseases.

Coronary heart disease is very rare in animals but instead we see something called congestive heart failure very commonly - many small breeds of dog are predisposed to congestive heart disease, particularly Cavalier King Charles Spaniels.

Larger breeds tend to get less congestive heart disease and more of a disease called dilated cardiomyopathy. Now, at this point I have thrown too many long words at you and I suspect you are starting to drift off and I have not even got onto cats yet!

My point is that there is not just one type of heart disease that affects animals, I have mentioned the two most common ones that affect dogs but this really is only the tip of the iceberg.

So how do you tell the different heart issues apart? Listening to the heart's beat and doing ECGs and Xrays can all be useful diagnostic tools but the cornerstone of heart disease diagnosis is ultrasound (know as Echocardiography, or echo for short).

Ultrasound of the heart can tell us so much about the health of the heart muscle, the health of the heart valves, the strength and depth of the heart beat, blood flow within the heart and much much more.

As well has being interesting, the information that we get from an echo can give us a vital indication of what medicines would work best in individual cases and when we need to modify medication as disease progresses.

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Vet column: Animals can be affected by different types of heart disease - Dorset Echo

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