With February being American Heart Month, now is a better time than ever to know how to keep your cat or dog’s heart healthy. To learn more about cat and dog health, we spoke with Dr. Eileen Mera, VMD, Lead Veterinarian at Wright Veterinary Medical Center, about this important topic. Here’s what she had to say:
- Perform good dental preventive care, dental exams, and cleaning under anesthesia. The bacteria from the mouth can take a trip to the heart valves and cause damage that then causes the heart to not perform properly.
Did you know that KCZD had 9 dental cleanings done for our animals last year? AND it’s not only seniors who need it!
- Feed a diet from an established high quality pet food company with veterinary nutritionists creating the diets and with research and feeding trial facilities. The popularity of grain free and boutique diets without sufficient proper nutrition elements has become very concerning as possibly causing dilated cardiomyopathy in dog breeds where it has not been seen before. UC Davis veterinary school is working on this problem and studying.
- Know the breed or if a mix; get a wisdom panel and see what breeds are in your dog’s genetics as many breeds are prone to certain heart issues and it is important to work with your veterinarian to know what signs to watch for and what diagnostic testing is recommended and at what age.
- Although dogs and cats do not suffer from cholesterol and plaque development in their blood vessels, it is still a good idea to keep you dog or cat at a normal adult weight as being overweight or obese makes the heart work a lot harder to circulate the blood around the body and causes the heart to age faster.
- If your dog or cat already has diagnosed heart disease, follow your veterinarian’s recommendations and medications and consult with a veterinary cardiologist if possible.
Thanks for reading! Taking care of your pet’s heart is a great way to show you love them, and an important part of good companion animal ownership!