How to help if your dog is having a heart attack

How to help if your dog is having a heart attack


– Hello, I’m Emma Hammitt
from First Aid For Pets. And today, I’m going to talk to you about how to help if you think your dog may be having a heart attack. Now, canine heart
attacks are, fortunately, still comparatively rare in the UK. They can occur in dogs of any breed, although flat-faced dogs are more likely to experience them,
and they’re more likely to experience breathing problems, as well. However, some parts of
the USA, they’re beginning to report an increase
in canine heart attacks, and that’s due to the increased amounts of fatty food that their
dogs are consuming, the reduced amount of exercise, and an increase in pet obesity. And these pets are also
showing an increase in diabetes and atherosclerosis. So, these are diseases that have traditionally been human diseases that, because of lifestyle, a lot of, or quite a few dogs, are beginning to experience them. So, the key thing to keep your pet healthy is a sensible diet, decent
amounts of exercise, and keep their weight to
within their normal limits. So, just as with a human heart attack in a pet occurs when
the coronary arteries, so, the arteries that surround the heart become blocked, or sometimes they leak, but usually it’s because
they’ve become blocked, and this cuts off the blood
flow to the heart muscle. And when the heart muscle is
deprived of blood, it will die. So, the severity of the heart attack depends how large a blood
vessel has been blocked, and then, consequently, how
much of the heart muscle has been effected, and also
whereabouts in the heart it’s been affected. And if the heart muscle dies, it reduces the ability for the heart to contract and pump
the blood to the brain and around the heart to the
cardiac, coronary arteries to keep the heart and the
brain full of oxygenated blood. So, exactly the same as with a human, that’s what’s happening in a dog. And dogs can have the same sort of health problems as humans. So, they can have heart
disease and heart failure, too. And because of this, as well, dogs have been helpful to humans as research models in
heart attack studies. And it’s thanks to dogs
that CPR was discovered. And it’s thanks to dogs that the first defibrillator
was discovered, too. So, important to keep your dog healthy, but important to be grateful to them, too, for the help that they’ve given us in having human CPR and human defibrillators, too. So, we’re learning from
each other all the time. So, unfortunately, with dogs, the first recognisable symptoms of a heart attack is usually collapse. So, canine heart attack
symptoms can be subtle. So, spot early, and have
your pet checked up regularly by your vet, so you know
what is normal for them. So, if your pet is suddenly
appearing very unwell, they may be vomiting, panting, they have an increased heart rate, then, they have a fever,
pain in the front legs, difficulty standing, being a bit immobile, they could have a seizure because a seizure can occur if you have a reduced
blood supply to the brain. If they are behaving very
unusually and they appear ill, get them to the vet quickly, and they will investigate
and find out what’s going on. Now, longterm health conditions
will increase the risks. So, as we said before,
keep their weight down to normal limits because carrying additional weight increases their blood pressure and the amount of cholesterol
in their blood stream. And basset hounds, bulldogs and beagles are more susceptible to heart attacks than other breeds. Diabetes makes it more likely that your dog could
experience a heart attack. And sometimes bacterial infections, particularly cardiac ones, can cause problems and make
the heart a little bit weaker, as can vasculitis, when the
blood vessels become inflamed. And if they’ve got low thyroid as well, that can also slow the blood flow and make it more likely. So, if you take your pet to the vet, and you suspect they’re
having a heart attack, your vet will give them an ECG, so a 12-lead ECG, just
the same as with humans. Well, it won’t be (mumbles),
be a special dog, dog ECG. They may do an echocardiogram to detect and see what
the heart muscle’s doing. They’ll probably do some blood cultures and have a proper look
at liver and kidney tests just to rule everything else out. They’ll check the urine, and they may prescribe medication, just like with humans, if
they detect a heart condition. Dogs can be put on diuretics
to reduce the fluid that can build up in the lungs if your heart’s not working properly. And they may prescribe
heart medication, too. The important thing is, is to get them diagnosed, and then, you can have
the appropriate treatment. I hope that’s been useful. That’s Emma Hammitt
from First Aid For Pets.