David our vet has developed a passionate interest in a broad range of areas including soft tissue surgery and heart scans, and as so many heart conditions go unnoticed he has decided to run free heart consultations until the end of January.
New research has changed the way we treat the most common heart condition (mitral valve disease) in dogs. This condition causes a valve in the heart to thicken and as it changes shape a leak develops. There is a long period where from the outside you wouldn’t think anything is wrong but, unfortunately, the leak becomes so bad that heart failure will develop.” Traditionally these dogs would only be treated once they became unwell, showing signs such as coughing, lethargy and exercise intolerance. The new study shows that treating before this point can greatly improve the dogs’ life. Below are the key results of the study:
How can you diagnose a condition before your dog is unwell?
Ewan says “Certain breeds are particularly prone to mitral valve disease, such as Cavalier King Charles spaniels – so examining these dogs is particularly important. However, any dog can develop this condition. When we listen to the heart on physical examination the leaking valve makes a certain noise, called a murmur. There are various reasons why a murmur may be present, so it would be at this stage a scan of the heart to detect the underlying cause would be recommended.”
Heart scans can detect the underlying cause of the problem, such as a leaking valve, but can also look at to what extent the heart has changed as a result of the condition – such as how well it is contracting, whether the chambers have enlarged, what the heart muscle looks like and if the valves look thickened.
What happens if my dog does have a problem?
At this stage, we would discuss all the options. John says, “This research has really changed how we treat this condition. Dogs are now put on daily medication that not only significantly increases their life but also means that they have more time before any clinical signs develop. This basically means they get to charge around and do what dogs love doing best for so much longer!”
If you have any further questions or want your dog checked over please call on 01295 712110 or book online.
We are only running these heart consultations for free until the end of January 2018 so don’t delay why not get your dog checked out!
David is looking forward to seeing you and your dog soon.