February is Heart Awareness Month for humans and Vet’s Klinic, Swindon’s newest vet practice in Bridgemead, is raising awareness of heart disease in pets too. As well as being common in humans, heart disease is regularly diagnosed in pets, especially cats and dogs. But all too often, it is diagnosed in its final stages when it’s sadly too late to offer life prolonging medication.
Heart disease affects both young and old animals with the risk increasing dramatically with age. Up to 60% of older dogs may be affected. The number of cats at risk is harder to estimate as the disease is often ‘silent’ and can go undiagnosed until too late, but it’s around 15%.
Vet’s Klinic’s head Vet, Adrian Caunter, describes the signs we should be looking out for:
“Signs of heart disease in pets can be very subtle and often mistaken for ageing. Therefore it’s very important to know what these symptoms are. If you notice your pet has a reluctance to exercise, is experiencing a lot of tiredness, experiencing breathing issues, coughing or episodes of collapse, it’s highly recommendable to get them checked by a vet as these could be signs of heart disease. Other signs, such as arrhythmias (irregular heartbeats) or murmurs (abnormal sounds within the heart), can only be detected by your vet. A revolutionary test, known as pro-BNP, recently became available to vets and provides a new way to diagnose heart disease in a mere 24 hours.”
Although there is no cure for heart disease, early detection can make a significant difference to your pet’s quality and length of life. There are certain at risk breeds which should be noted. At risk dog breeds to be aware of include the Basset, Beagle, Burmese Mountain dog, Boxer, Bullmastiff, Cavalier King Charles spaniels, Chihuahua, Collie, Dachshunds, Doberman, German Shepherd, Golden Retriever, Great Dane, Labrador Retriever, Poodle, Rottweiler, St Bernard and Weimaraner. And the at risk cat breeds to watch are the American Short hair, Maine Coon, Persian, Siamese, Sphinx and the Ragdoll.
Vet’s Klinic is offering discounted heart checks throughout February for just £50 (reduced from £90). The checks include a full clinical examination and the new pro-BNP blood test. For more help or information or to book an appointment, visit www.vetsklinic.co.uk, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01793 876 619.