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Heart Disease in Dogs

Older dog displaying heart disease symptomsIs your dog getting older? Do they have a cough? Not able to do their usual walks? Your dog could be showing symptoms of heart disease which affects up to 10% of all dogs.

What is heart disease?

Heart disease can be congenital or acquired. Apart from more infectious causes such as heartworm, dogs over the age of 6 years are at greatest risk and may not show any obvious symptoms until the disease is more advanced, so routine check-ups are essential to picking the heart problems up as early as possible.

Is my dog “at-risk”?

Heart disease can develop in all breeds of dogs, but certain dog breeds are at higher risk. Smaller breeds such as Cavalier King Charles Spaniels, Dachshunds, Poodles, Schnauzers, Chihuahuas, Fox Terriers and Jack Russell Terriers are known “at-risk” breeds for heart valve disease, some larger breeds such as Boxers and Dobermans are known “at-risk” breeds for diseases of the heart muscle, known as cardiomyopathy.

What can be done?

The good news is that when picked up early enough by your pet’s vet, before any symptoms occur, early treatment can be started that may significantly delay the onset of clinical signs of heart disease in dogs with early mitral valve disease, the most common form of heart disease in dogs. Early diagnosis and treatment mean dogs can have a better quality of life and live longer without the debilitating signs of heart failure.

At Cronulla Vet Clinic we can diagnose the existence of, and grade the severity of your dog’s heart disease before symptoms become apparent. We diagnose this in consult through a detailed history, full physical examination, blood and urine tests, and imaging, minimally consisting of screening radiographs. This diagnoses will help us determine the best treatment for your pet, if and when required.

It is important, however, that you continue to look out for the visible signs of heart disease in your pet. Some of these signs include coughing, getting tired more easily, getting out of puff during walks, even fainting (especially if they push themselves too far). For more information about heart disease and the signs to look for please visit

If you have any concerns, please call our friendly staff at Cronulla Vet Clinic on 9527 2604 today to arrange an appointment.