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.
Following symptoms can indicate that your Chihuahua has a problem with its heart:
- Lethargic behaviour
- General weakness
- Coughing and gagging (due to liquid entering the lungs)
- Loss in appetite
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.
Depending on the issue there are a number of available treatments:
- Medication that makes the heart work more efficiently
- Diuretics can help to excrete fluids to lighten the burden on the heart
- Other types of medication can help with changing the rhythm of the heart
- If a heartworm is involved, an anti-parasitic shot is needed
- If problems persist it could be a solution to have a pacemaker inserted
Type of heart problems
|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|