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What is Dilated Cardiomyopathy and What are the Signs?

Your dog is part of the family and just like other members of the family, they may be at risk of health problems. Unfortunately, one of the most common problems among dogs is DCM or dilated cardiomyopathy, which is a type of heart disease. DCM is often diagnosed in older large and giant breed dogs, but some breeds, such as Doberman pinschers are prone to arrhythmias that may develop into DCM. It’s important to be aware of the symptoms of DCM and to take your dog to the veterinarian in Honolulu for a heart screening if you suspect your dog may be showing symptoms of heart disease.

Signs of DCM

DCM causes the heart muscles to degenerate and become thin. When the muscle walls are thin, it reduces the heart’s contractility, which is the strength for contracting and pumping blood. Overtime, this issue will lead to congestive heart failure. Some of the most common signs of DCM include:

  • Paws are cool to the touch
  • Decreased appetite
  • Coughing
  • Intolerance to exercise
  • Fatigue
  • Belly appears swollen
  • Labored breathing

If you notice any of these signs, you should schedule an appointment with the veterinarian as soon as possible and if your dog experiences a blue tongue, rapid and heavy breathing or if they collapse, it is crucial that they receive emergency veterinary treatment.

Nutritional Role in Managing DCM

Your dog’s diet plays an essential role in managing their cardiovascular health. If your vet determines that your dog has been diagnosed with heart disease, they may recommend a change in the dog’s diet. Changes may include controlling their salt intake and introducing supplements, such as L-carnitine, Omega-3 fatty acids and B-vitamins; all of which are beneficial for helping to maintain healthy heart function. It is important that you talk with your dog’s veterinarian before you make any changes to their diet.

Routine veterinary care is essential for accurately diagnosing and treating DCM in dogs. It’s also important to note that many dogs with cardiomyopathy continue to live long happy lives.

To learn more information about DCM or to schedule your dog’s veterinary exam, contact the Animal Clinic Of Honolulu.


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8:00 am-5:30 pm


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