As animals age, their internal organs can deteriorate just as ours do. If this deterioration is associated with the heart and circulation in general, they may start to show warning signs such as less energy than normal, coughing (especially when waking up and exercising) and exercise intolerance.
These problems may not always be associated with old age - we are seeing more and more middle aged dogs with circulatory problems too!
The heart is designed to pump blood around the body and carry oxygen in the lungs out to other parts of the body. If this function is slow, then the liver, kidneys and brain to name three areas are deprived of their ability to function at peak performance. So with heart failure, it must be realised that not only is the heart itself unable to function because of poor blood circulation, but this has a secondary effect on other parts of the body.
If the brain is affected, the dog will be dull in their approach to life. In a recent case a dog with heart failure even started to suffer from epileptic turns. If the kidneys are affected then the normal filtration function of these organs is poor. When the kidneys are not functioning correctly, waste products that would normally pass in the urine are being retained in the circulation. The body tries to compensate for this by making the animal drink far more water than normal, another sign of poor circulation. Liver failure is not uncommon when this organ has a poor oxygen supply.
So many people are amazed at the improvement of their pet's attitude when they start on heart and circulation treatment. Clinical signs of heart incompetence can be very subtle and are best evalutated by Dr John or Dr Paul. Treatment may not always be neccessary for the time being but your pet may need to regularly monitored for further deterioration. Treatments involve small tablets daily, these tablets dilute the peripheral blood vessels and lessen the work the heart has to do. Further down the line heart stimulants and diuretic medications may be added to your pet's medication regime.
If you have any questions at all, please don't hesitate to call our friendly staff on (02) 4959 5766.