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April is Heart Health Month

Like people, dogs can get congestive heart failure. Causes can be congenital (born with it) or may come on with old age. Symptoms can range from coughing, difficulty breathing, and becoming tired easily. Later symptoms of the disease can be weight loss (they can lose the ability to store fat), fainting (blocked blood flow to the brain), or a swollen belly from fluid building up in the abdomen or lungs. You will also notice your dog appearing restless and may pace having a difficult time settling down

There are several tests your veterinarian may do to diagnose heart disease. They include x-rays, EKG, ultrasound, and bloodwork/urinalysis. Tell your doctor what foods you are feeding your dog as well as any supplements you are giving.

Treatments are available that will prolong the life of your dog. They will depend on the type of heart condition your veterinarian has diagnosed. Medications can slow the progression and help with the fluid buildup. Surgery is also an option depending on the disorder. You can also help by limiting the activity of your dog and feeding them a diet modified for their condition.

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