When Should My Pet Get a Cardiac Evaluation?

As a pet owner, you’re always looking out for your furry friend’s health and happiness. From the food they eat to the amount of play they get, you’re on top of it! But what about their heart health?

When it comes to conditions of the heart, it’s not always easy to spot the warning signs. That’s why understanding when to consider a cardiac evaluation for your pet is crucial. Let’s chat about how to keep your pet’s ticker… well, ticking!

Cat and Dog Wellness Exams

Let’s start by discussing the importance of routine health check-ups. Regular cat wellness exams and their canine equivalents are vital for monitoring your pet’s overall health, including their heart. These check-ups provide a great opportunity for vets to catch any early signs of cardiac issues.

Your vet will listen to your pet’s heart, check their pulse rate and quality, and look out for any abnormalities in their blood work. If they spot anything unusual, it’s usually recommended to dig a little deeper with a cardiac evaluation.

Understanding the Signs That Signal Trouble

Your pet can’t tell you when something’s not feeling right, so you’ve got to be their voice. Keep an eye out for these tell-tale signs that might indicate a heart problem:

  • Coughing More Than Usual

  • Difficulty Breathing or Rapid Breathing

  • Weakness or Lethargy, Especially During Exercise

  • Collapsing or Fainting

  • Unexplained Weight Loss or Gain

  • Swollen Abdomen Due to Fluid Build-up

If you notice any of these symptoms, our advice is to head straight to the vet for a check-up. It’s better to be safe than sorry!

The Journey of Your Pet’s Cardiac Evaluation

Once you’re at the vet’s, they’ll likely suggest a thorough assessment of your pet’s heart. This could involve several steps:

  • A Detailed Physical Exam – The vet will listen to your pet’s heart and lungs and check their blood pressure.

  • Blood Tests – These can help detect heartworms or other diseases that could affect heart function.

  • Chest X-rays – This gives a clear picture of heart size and shape, as well as the state of the lungs.

  • An Electrocardiogram (ECG) – It records the electrical activity of the heart and helps diagnose rhythm problems.

  • An Echocardiogram – This ultrasound of the heart visualizes the heart’s structures and checks how well the heart pumps.

A thorough cardiac evaluation like this is typically advised when a vet senses something might be off based on the regular wellness exam or the appearance of concerning symptoms.

Is Age a Factor for Heart Disease in Pets?

Like people, our pets can become more susceptible to certain health issues as they age. Heart disease is one of those concerns that becomes more common in older pets.

Senior pets, especially those over the age of seven, should have their hearts checked regularly. But age isn’t the only factor. Breed and size can also increase the risk of heart problems, with some breeds being more prone to certain types of heart disease.

Veterinary Cardiology

If your local vet suspects a heart problem, they may refer you to a specialist in veterinary cardiology. These experts have additional training in diagnosing and managing heart diseases in pets.

At a cardiology consultation, you can expect more advanced diagnostic tests and a detailed treatment plan if needed. Your vet will work alongside the cardiologist to ensure your pet gets the best possible care. In our case, we’d usually recommend a visit to a cardiologist if:

  • Your pet has a heart murmur or irregular heart rhythm

  • They have been diagnosed with heart disease and need specialized care

  • They need an assessment for heart surgery

Note that not every heart murmur or irregular beat spells disaster, but it’s important to get it checked out. You can click here to learn more about veterinary cardiology and vet services.

Preventive Care for a Healthy Heart

It’s not just about reacting when there’s trouble – it’s about preventing it! Keeping your pet healthy overall will help their heart, too. Here’s what you can do:

  • Ensure they get regular exercise tailored to their age and breed

  • Keep your pet at a healthy weight to avoid stressing their heart

  • Feed them a balanced diet recommended by your vet

  • Stay on top of routine health care, including vaccinations and parasite control

Veterinary Dentistry

You might be thinking, “What do teeth have to do with the heart?” Well, quite a bit, actually! Dental health is tightly linked to overall health – and that includes the heart. Infections in the mouth can spread bacteria to other parts of the body, including the heart. So, it’s wise to keep up with regular dental check-ups for your pet. If you’re in the area, finding a reliable veterinary dentist in Dallas or your local area will go a long way in preventing dental problems that could impact your pet’s heart.

Dental disease can lead to more than bad breath; it can cause serious health issues. Here’s where a great dental care routine comes into play:

  • Brush your pet’s teeth regularly

  • Provide them with dental chews that help limit tartar build-up

  • Schedule regular dental cleanings with your vet

When to Schedule a Special Appointment

Sometimes, you shouldn’t wait for the next wellness exam to address heart health concerns. If there’s a sudden change in your pet’s behavior or symptoms arise, it’s time to see the vet without delay. Stay attuned to your pet’s behavior and health – you’re their first line of defense against heart disease.

Also, if your vet has indicated a cardiac risk during previous visits but your pet seemed fine, it doesn’t hurt to schedule a specific heart check-up. It’s all about keeping them in tip-top shape so you can enjoy each other’s company for as long as possible.

Wrapping Up

Your pet relies on you for love and care, which includes taking care of their heart. Please pay close attention to their overall health, watch out for warning signs, and don’t hesitate to take action when needed. By ensuring that your pet has regular wellness exams, you can catch and address potential heart issues early on. A happy pet means a happy home, so let’s give them the care they deserve.