Chihuahua Heart Diseases

Chihuahua Heart Diseases

What does the heart do?

The heart is located in the middle of the chest and is a muscles that pumps blood around. The heart exists out of 2 areas, one to pump blood to the lungs to pick up oxygen, the other half pumps oxygen rich blood to other parts of the body. Without the heart all other organs cannot function as they need oxygen to keep functional. Underneath we will discuss the symptoms, diagnosis and treatment of different Chihuahua heart diseases.Chihuahua heart diseases

Symptoms

Following symptoms can indicate that your Chihuahua has a problem with its heart:

  1. Lethargic behaviour
  2. General weakness
  3. Coughing and gagging (due to liquid entering the lungs)
  4. Loss in appetite

Diagnosis

Clinical examination that starts with auscultation, in other words a vet has to listen to the heart of your Chihuahua with a stethoscope. Depending on what the vet can determine during the auscultation a second step is often to perform an echocardiography. This is a method to see images of the heart through a high frequency machine. Due to the high frequency the vet can determine whether leaking heart valves are the cause of your Chi’s heart problems. When both an auscultation ans a echocardiography cannot determine the underlying cause a third option can be to perform an ECG (electrocardiogram). An ECG can determine whether your Chihuahua suffers from cardiac arrhythmia, in other words whether the heart beats consistently or not.If a visual of the heart is needed an/or the vet suspects the lungs are involved an x-ray of the chest can be helpful.

Treatment

Depending on the issue there are a number of available treatments:

  1. Medication that makes the heart work more efficiently
  2. Diuretics can help to excrete fluids to lighten the burden on the heart
  3. Other types of medication can help with changing the rhythm of the heart
  4. If a heartworm is involved, an anti-parasitic shot is needed
  5. If problems persist it could be a solution to have a pacemaker inserted

Type of heart problems

Symptoms Diagnosis Treatment
Leaky heart valve A noise can be heard when listening to heart with a stethoscope Echography Long-term medication
Arrythmia General weakness untill your dog suddenly collapses ECG Medication that either fasten or slow the rhythm of the heart
Cardiomyophaty A swollen heart cannot contract efficiently enough to pump blood around ECG + X-ray Diuretics can be used to lighten the burden on the heart
African heartworm No symptoms, dog may possibly cough up blood Blood test + ECG Deworming is necessary but when the worms dissapear too quickly it can cause the death of the dog
European heartworm Blindness, paralysis and kidney failure Stool examination + ECG Deworming and anti-parasitic medication
Pericarditis General weakness, coughing and pain X-ray + ECG Draining fluids from the heart through an operation + antibiotics
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