February is American Heart Month, so experts at BluePearl are urging everyone to practice good heart health — for people as well as pets.
A healthy heart is just as important to your dog or cat as it is to you, but some similarities end there.
“I think the biggest misconception is the idea that dogs and cats frequently have heart attacks,” said BluePearl’s Dr. Laura Hatton, who is board-certified in veterinary cardiology.
Dogs and cats generally don’t have heart attacks because they infrequently suffer the clogged arteries that plague humans. But pets do get serious heart conditions, which often can be difficult to detect in the earlier stages.
And cats complicate the matter, because they tend to hide when feeling sick. It’s really hard to see signs of heart trouble in a cat who has disappeared beneath the bed.
The good news is that the vast majority of dogs and cats with congestive heart failure or many other heart ailments can be treated with medicine, or potentially surgery. “We can often give dogs and cats a really good quality of life for years,” Dr. Hatton said.
BluePearl has extensive experience treating heart conditions, with several veterinarians such as Dr. Hatton who have received years of additional training to become board-certified in veterinary cardiology.
BluePearl works closely with the primary care veterinarians who know your pet well. They are often the ones who first detect heart trouble in pets, and refer them to specialists at BluePearl for additional diagnosis and treatment.
“A trip to your primary care veterinarian is a really important step,” Dr. Hatton said. “We work in partnership with them to make sure your pets get the best treatment possible for heart disease.”