By JeanneBennett

Spirit staff Pet Advocate

jbennett@myspiritnews.com

When we decide to open our homes and hearts to a pet, no one expects it to have to a chronic disease but it does happen, so we have to deal with illness. You don’t need to dedicate your life to studying veterinary medicine, but you should be prepared to know what is normal versus abnormal behavior in your pet. Petmd.com has a list to consider.

Early diagnosis and treatment can make all the difference when it comes to heart disease and your dog. As a dog owner, you should be aware of signs of heart disease so that you can bring it to your veterinarian’s attention as soon as possible.

1.  Isolation

If your dog suddenly starts to isolate itself or is keeping its distance from other pets and/or you, this may be a sign of heart disease.

2.  Edema

Edema is the swelling of body tissues. Your dog may show swelling in the abdomen and extremities if it has heart disease.

3. Restlessness

If your dog gets restless, especially at night, it may have heart disease.

4. Weakness

Weakness may be seen as a general sign of aging, but be sure to seek veterinary attention if it is combined with other symptoms.

5. Fainting/Collapsing

If your dog faints or collapses at any time, seek veterinary help. It may be a sign of many different serious illnesses, heart disease being one of them.

6. Weight Loss or Gain

Weight loss is definitely a symptom of heart disease, though weight gain can be as well. More likely than weight gain, is a bloated or distended abdomen, giving your dog a potbellied appearance.

7. Poor Appetite

Loss of appetite is almost always a symptom of something. If combined with any of the other symptoms on this list, it could be a strong indicator of heart disease.

8. Changes in Behavior

If you notice behavior changes in your dog, such as tiring more easily, being less playful, reluctance to exercise, reluctance to accept affection, being withdrawn, or an appearance of depression, these are all signs of heart disease.

9. Difficulty Breathing

Changes in breathing relating to heart disease may include difficulty breathing due to shortness of breath, labored breathing, or rapid breathing.

10. Coughing

Coughing is a very common symptom of many illnesses, one of those being heart disease. Minor coughs will not last more than a few days. If after three days your dog is still coughing, or is experiencing other symptoms, seek veterinary care.

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