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11 Symptoms of Heart Attack in Dogs


5 min Read

April 06, 2022 | Parenting

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Symptoms of Heart Attack in Dogs

A heart attack, also known as a "myocardial infarction", occurs when blood flow to the heart muscle is interrupted. The heart muscle dies when it is deprived of oxygen and nutrients, and the afflicted heart chamber can no longer adequately pump blood throughout the body. Heart attacks in dogs have been observed in all breeds and are extremely rare. Heart illness, congenital heart defects, and genetic predisposition, all increase the risk of heart attack. A cardiac arrest necessitates immediate medical intervention. Keep cool and contact a veterinarian as soon as you see signs of a heart attack in your dog. Feeling worried? Don't worry, as we will be discussing some signs that can save your pooch. Here are some symptoms of a heart attack:

Dog heart attack symptoms

A heart attack can strike without warning. If your dog collapses, that could be the first sign of trouble. The following are some of the signs and symptoms of a dog heart attack:

  • Fever (above 103 degrees Fahrenheit/39.4 degrees Celsius)

  • Vomiting

  • Panting/excessive breathing

  • Heart rate has increased (over 100 beats per minute for large breeds) (small breeds have a heart rate of exceeding 140 beats per minute)

  • Lethargy

  • Uncertainty Head Tilt

  • Lack of mobility

  • Rigidity

  • Seizure’s

Causes of Heart Attack in Dogs

Below are some of the causes of heart attack in dogs:

  • Tumours can obstruct blood flow to the heart muscle if they grow on or around the heart's vasculature.

  • Hypothyroidism is a condition in which the thyroid gland does not produce the hormone thyroxine, which is responsible for converting food into energy for the body.

  • Another sign of a heart attack in dogs is kidney impairment which causes a decrease of protein. This protein is important in preventing blood clot formation, which is known as nephrotic syndrome. One of the causes of a canine heart attack is blood clots.

  • Bacterial infection: Bacterial infection can cause inflammation and blood flow blockage to the heart muscle.

  • Vasculitis is the inflammation of blood vessels caused by infection, immune-mediated illness, or other endothelial lining harm. Vasculature becomes narrowed as a result of this.

  • Atherosclerosis is a condition in which plaque builds up in the arteries, limiting blood flow or causing artery rupture. Although uncommon in dogs, it has been reported in various breeds.

  • Coronary artery disease in dogs is quite rare. Only occurs in patients with severe hypothyroidism and high serum cholesterol levels.

Heart Attack in Dogs - Diagnosis

If your pet shows signs of a heart attack, be calm and tenderly wrap them in a blanket to calm them down. Do not attempt CPR unless you have had expert training and are certain that it is required. If CPR is not required, it can cause more harm than good. In the event of vomiting or asphyxiation, do not attempt to feed or provide water. Keep small children away from the animal since pain and panic can lead to violent behaviour. If you have other dogs, keep them away and calm them down with the best dog treats.

To feel their heart rate, calmly place your palm on the left side of their chest and count. Multiply your answer by 4 to get the number of beats in 15 seconds. Dogs have a normal heart rate of 60-140 beats per minute, depending on their size. If it does not match this, consult your vet as soon as possible. Keep calm and securely wrap your pet in a blanket before transporting  them to the veterinarian's office. Try to recall the events leading up to the collapse so you can tell the veterinarian what happened.

Any information about what happened before the symptoms or collapse will be important to state so that the vet can assess your pooch better. The veterinarian will check the heart for any murmurs, abnormal pulses, or arrhythmias. Laboratory tests can disclose important details about cardiac function and the causes of dog heart attack symptoms. Some tests that may be taken are:

  • Electrocardiography (EKG) is a test that determines the electrical impulses in the heart and monitors arrhythmias.

  • Complete blood cell count (CBC): Determines the number of red and white blood cells in the body and can detect infection.

  • Biochemistry examines the function of the kidneys and liver.

  • Urinalysis is a test that looks at kidney and metabolic function.

  • Thyroid gland function is examined.

  • Detects fluid or masses around the heart, heart valve function, heart muscle, and pericardial health through echocardiography.

  • Chest X-ray: Determines the size of the heart, the fluid around it, and any masses that may be present.

  • A Holter monitor or an ambulatory EKG can be used at home to monitor dogs' heart health. For 24 hours, electrodes are taped to the chest and the gadget is strapped to the back.

If the damage to the kidneys is not severe, several diets and drugs may be used to provide preventive/supportive therapy. Antibiotics may help to prevent future damage to the arteries and lining of the heart caused by infection or inflammation. Arrhythmias can be treated with antiarrhythmic medicines.

The likelihood of recurrence is determined by the aetiology of the disease and the severity of the myocardial infarction once the pet has been stabilised. When the problem is detected early and treated properly, surgery and drugs can extend the life of the pet for many years. If your pet collapses, he or she may need to stay in the hospital overnight or longer for observation.

Heart Attack Recovery in Dogs

The degree and cause of your pet's heart attack will determine how long he or she lives afterwards. Hypothyroidism, kidney failure, and heart disease may necessitate lifelong care. Regular cardiac monitoring in the veterinarian office or with an ambulatory ECG recorder, may take place a few times per year for younger pets, and may be required to assure stabilisation over the first few weeks or months.

While the pet stabilises, activity limitation may be recommended for the first month. Owners should become familiar with their pet's usual heart and breathing rates so that it can be measured following periods of high activity or stress. Dog treats, however, can be a way your dogs can relieve their stress.

Also read: Find Out How Malaika Keeps Her Dog Healthy #PetsDeserveHealthy


We at Dogsee Chew believe that after such a devastating event, your doggo should be able to enjoy his favourite healthy treats. Our all-natural treats not just serve as a delicious snack for your pup but is also a healthy reward.

Here is a Dogsee dog relieving his stress with a Dogsee turmeric bar on our Instagram!

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