Here’s what to know about heart disease in your pets

Our family pets can suffer from heart disease just like humans! While critters don’t have issues with blockages in arteries or high cholesterol, they can still have cardiomyopathy (issues with the heart muscle), heart murmurs, irregular heartbeat and heart failure.

Detecting heart problems early is something your vet does during regular check-ups. Symptoms may not become apparent until heart disease has progressed and may include lethargy, coughing or breathlessness. The sooner a problem can be diagnosed, the better the prediction for treatment.

Some breeds are more likely to have heart problems. Large breeds like Rottweilers, Boxers, and Dobermans are prone to have inherited issues like cardiomyopathy, an enlarged heart or irregular heartbeat. Smaller breeds like Chihuahuas and Yorkies and cats are more likely to have age-related problems like high blood pressure.

Many of these heart problems can be treated with drugs or surgery. Some issues may be with a pet for its life, but with regular monitoring, pets have great potential for better quality of life and longer lifespans.