Although heart problems are found more often in older pets, these conditions can affect pets at any age. Heart disease is usually a life-threatening condition, but early diagnosis and appropriate therapy can extend your pet’s life. If caught soon enough, some forms of heart disease can be cured.
Heart disease can lead to congestive heart failure (CHF), which occurs when the heart can no longer pump blood effectively. If an animal is suffering from CHF, fluid usually accumulates in and around the lungs and sometimes in the abdomen. Congenital heart disease (animals born with a heart problem), valvular heart disease (abnormalities of the heart valves), arrhythmias (rhythm disturbances), and heartworm disease can all lead to CHF.
Call our Toronto hospital if your pet starts breathing rapidly or coughing, loses his or her appetite, tires easily, seems weak, has trouble exercising, or develops a swollen abdomen. We can discover many heart problems during a physical exam. Additional tests, such as an electrocardiogram (ECG), radiographs (x-rays), ultrasounds, and blood work are usually needed to accurately identify the cause of the heart disease or failure.
Although heart disease has been found and treated in dogs and cats for dozens of years, it has also been recognized in many exotic species including ferrets, birds and other mammals. In some species, like birds and reptiles, there have been major advancements in the diagnosing and treating of heart disease over the last few years. Any diagnostic and treatment measures used in dogs and cats is also available for use in your exotic pets to help diagnose and treat heart disease.
Our veterinarians remain dedicated to remaining up to date with any advancements in diagnosing and treating heart problems in your exotic pet.