Early Detection of Heart Disease Means Longer Life

By Susan Aiello • Published: September 1st, 2011
Category: Animal Airwaves

Dogs with heart disease often don’t show symptoms until the problem is advanced. Even observant owners may initially notice only some sluggishness or an occasional cough. That’s one reason why wellness exams are so important.

Your veterinarian can listen for a heart murmur or fluid in the lungs, and evaluate the heart on an X-ray. The pro-BNP blood test, now being used in people to diagnose heart disease and gauge the amount of damage, may also yield similar information in pets.

This test measures a hormone that is released into the blood when cardiac muscle is stretched. Levels above normal point to heart disease, with the size of the increase a good measure of disease progression.

There is no cure for heart failure, but prompt treatment can mean several extra years of quality life for your dog. So have a heart, and take your best friend for an annual checkup.