It may not be easy to determine if your dog has a heart attack, especially in the early stages. However, there are some common indications that they may be suffering from this life-threatening condition. The sooner you know about the symptoms associated with a heart attack in dogs, the better treatment can be received. As a pet owner, it’s your responsibility to look out for your dog’s best interest.
Heart Attack in Dogs
A blocked artery usually causes a heart attack in dogs. The blocked arteries prevent blood flow to the muscles of the heart, making it difficult for the muscle to contract properly. This may result in severe consequences, ranging from death to life-threatening damage.
Unlike humans, dogs cannot describe what they are feeling or if they’re suffering. In other words, they cannot tell you when something is wrong with them.
Symptoms to Look For
Five common signs indicate your dog may be experiencing a heart attack:
1. Heavy Panting
The sudden onset of heavy, open-mouthed breathing can indicate that your dog is struggling to breathe normally due to cardiac distress. The lack of oxygen will quickly result in permanent damage to your pet if not given immediate attention.
2. Unusual Behavior
Some dogs become very affectionate right before having a heart attack, while others suddenly become more aggressive than usual. Usually, these changes in temperament are accompanied by other symptoms. These changes in behavior may be brief or last for more extended periods.
This is another common sign of a heart attack in dogs – your pet becomes weak, lethargic, and disoriented. They often refuse to move around and become unresponsive. If left untreated, the weakened heart muscles can cause permanent damage to your dog’s cardiovascular system.
4. Lack of Appetite
If you observe that your dog hasn’t been eating properly, it could indicate something is wrong. Because dogs cannot verbalize pain as humans do, they often try not to swallow food and other objects down their throats when experiencing discomfort.
Some dogs will experience seizures shortly after a heart attack due to the lack of oxygen and blood flowing through their bodies. This is very dangerous since it puts pets at risk of choking on their tongues or other objects in their mouth.
What Is Hyperventilation in Dogs?
This is important to note since it is a symptom of many other conditions than heart attacks in dogs.
Hyperventilation is when your pet breathes rapidly and heavily, typically after being startled. It’s a way for them to get more oxygen into their lungs and across their blood-brain barrier, which happens when humans hyperventilate.
The problem with this condition is that your dog’s body can’t handle it properly because they’re still developing mentally. Hyperventilation causes gasping, blue muzzles, and rapid breathing, but it isn’t normal for your pet to have these symptoms. No matter the cause of their hyperventilation, immediately bring them to the hospital.
Because heart attacks involve expertise, always choose a vet who specializes in cardiology. Like human cardiologists, they are highly trained and knowledgeable in this area. See here about cardiology services you can expect from vet clinics or hospitals.
What Causes Heart Attacks in Dogs?
Myocardial is the most common cause of heart attack in canines, occurring when there’s damage to the muscles surrounding the heart. Heartworms can also lead to a canine heart attack. These are parasites living in your dog’s heart that can cripple it over time.
- Poisoning or drug interactions
- Lack of blood to a body part due to an accident or injury
What Your Vet Can Do
Most vets give dogs CPR or resuscitate them if they have already lost consciousness. Then they will figure out what caused the heart attack. Moreover, they prescribe medications to help their heart and other organs.
They might also recommend MRI if they think there are other problems with your dog. Ensure that you answer some questions about their symptoms and what happened. This way, they can find the severity of the damage.
Be sure that your vet has diagnostic and lab tests services in the first place. This way, you don’t need to take your pet to another vet clinic or hospital for the test and go back to the other one for the check-up. Visit this link to know how this works.
What Are the Treatment Options?
Whether or not your pet lives or dies, treatment for them after they’ve had a heart attack depends on what happened during and immediately before it. If it’s due to an infection, your vet can give antibiotics specific to that condition.
With any other type of heart attack, they will prescribe medications that lessen blood pressure or prevent further damage to the muscles surrounding the heart. They can also perform surgery, depending on your dog’s condition. You can visit this vet surgery Ventura hospital for expert pet surgeries if you’re nearby.
On top of these, you need to understand how serious these attacks are for your pet, especially if they’re old or overweight. Like humans, canine heart problems can kill them if left untreated.