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dog heart health

Your Dog's Heart Health

Hi, I'm Tracy McAdoo and I'd like to talk with you briefly today about your dog's heart health. So January is right around the corner, the beginning of a new year, a time when many of us are making resolutions to live better, eat better, feel better and most of these resolutions revolve around health and wellbeing. So we'd like to challenge you this year to include your pets' heart health in your resolutions.

So that's why we made January Hearts to Hearts month and we're offering special promotional pricing to help screen your pet for heart disease. It is estimated that as many as 10% of dogs in private practice have heart disease and as dogs age, the prevalence can approach 60%. As veterinarians, we often find cardiac disease on a routine exam when we're auscultating or listening to the heart with our stethoscope.

At that time, we may hear a murmur, where instead of the normal lob dub of the heartbeat, we might hear boosh, boosh instead. We make hear an arrhythmia, a change in a rate or rhythm of the heartbeat. Or we might find pulses that don't match the heartbeat on exam. What we know what that point is that this patient has some sort of cardiac disease. But we don't know how long it's been present, whether it's affecting the ability of the heart to do its job or whether the patient needs to be on any medication.

What we do know is that early diagnosis is key for treatment and management of heart disease in dogs. Right, Doug? At this point, once we have detected a cardiac abnormality, we will recommend some further testing. The three most commonly used tests in dogs are chest X-rays, an electrocardiogram or an EKG and an echocardiogram or an ultrasound.

These tests will give us much more information regarding the pets' heart function and help us determine if the particular patient needs to be on any medication to manage their heart disease. While we can use these tests to manage heart disease in dogs, we can also use them to screen for heart disease in apparently healthy pets. So that we can look for cardiac disease in a more treatable stage in the earlier phases.

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