February was “Heart Health” month, so we should be a little more educated today. Since this blog is about people and pets, we also need to address heart health of our pets. I remember when my golden (that was 25 years ago) had a knee operation, and my husband suffered from ankylosing spondylites, both hubby and dog were on the same medicine. And while out dog walking, we do at times grin when dog parents and their dogs are on the same medicine.
Most people have a basic understanding of the risks of heart disease in humans, but when it comes to the heart health of our pet kids, that area remains a mystery to many.
Is Heart Disease Really So Widespread?
In Humans: In NA heart disease is still the #1 cause of death. About 1 in 4 people die of heart related disease.
In Dogs and Cats: Of course there are not the same statistics for our pets as there are for us humans. It is figured that, in our pets, about 1 in 10 will die with heart related disease. The same as with people, pet’s heart disease increases with age, typically, over 9 years old.
The Most Common Type Of Heart Disease Is What?
In Humans: Coronary artery disease, that is the most typical heart disease. And, this is typically found to be caused by plaque build up in arteries. This of course causes problems for the blood to be delivered to the heart. The more plaque, the more blood flow is being restricted.
In Dogs and Cats: Our pets do face other challenges, but, plaque is not one of them. Dogs can suffer from mitral valve disease this is a condition when a valve (left side) of the heart does not close properly.
In Cats, are more susceptible to get hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM). The heart walls thicken, and this will cause the heart to be less flexible. This is a genetic disease.
Heart Disease Symptoms?
In Humans: Pain in the chest, the back, the arms. Also, shallow breathing. Ask your doctor what symptoms YOU need to be aware of
In Dogs and Cats: In your dog it could be low energy, tiredness, also he may have trouble getting comfortable. He may have labored breathing and/ or a low pitched, constant cough. In worst scenario, the dog will faint or collapse.
Cats will also become tired, “lazy”, sleeping a lot or even hiding. A cat will lose their appetite and even have paralysis in their hind legs.
IF YOU THINK YOU ARE HAVING HEART RELATED SYMPTOMS GET HELP IMMEDIATELY. AND, IF YOU THINK YOUR PET IS HAVING HEART RELATED ISSUES, DO THE SAME, CALL YOUR VET.
It is so important that you see your doctor, and your pets their vets, on a regular basis! And, anytime you have alarming symptoms. Then go for help immediately.
YES. This works for both humans and pets. Not all heart disease can be managed by lifestyle change, but most can be either improved, or even eliminated by a healthy lifestyle. Talk To Your Doctor!
This applies for both humans and pets.
A healthy diet will make such a big difference in your health. Cut out the unhealthy foods, replace them with healthy food. And!
Exercise is proven to lower the risk of a heart attack. It also reduces stress, which is another risk factor of heart disease.
And don’t forget what researchers, healing experts and therapy animals have been demonstrating for decades … that by taking care of a dog or a cat, you’ll also be taking care of your heart.