Great Danes are one of the many breeds predisposed to heart disease. Therefore, if you have an older Great Dane, it's normal to be concerned about your dog's cardiovascular health, particularly if your dog has been experiencing unusual symptoms lately. Listed below are five signs of canine heart disease you need to be aware of when you have an aging Great Dane.
1. Decreased Energy
While it's perfectly normal for dogs to become less active as they get older, a sudden decrease in energy levels in your Great Dane is always cause for concern.
For instance, if you find that while taking your dog for a walk, your Great Dane frequently has to sit down and take a break, your dog might be developing cardiovascular problems. These problems are caused by the heart becoming weaker and pumping blood less efficiently, resulting in exhaustion after relatively little exercise.
2. Chronic Cough
Another sign of heart disease in your dog is a chronic cough. The coughing could be due to many illnesses, but never ignore your Great Dane coughing.
Some dogs have a heart murmur, which is a disturbance of blood flow that causes extra heart vibrations. This murmur creates an unusual sound and can oftentimes be heard. If your Great Dane has a heart murmur and suddenly starts coughing, take your pet to an animal hospital immediately.
3. Rapid Breathing
It's normal for your dog to experience rapid breathing after performing strenuous exercise; however, if your Great Dane starts taking quick, shallow breaths while at rest, it may be a sign of heart problems.
Shallow breathing is easy to overlook, so pay close attention to your Great Dane's breathing patterns.
4. Bulging Belly
Is your Great Dane developing an unusually large belly? If so, you may blame it on your dog's metabolism slowing down with age, but your dog could actually be suffering from ascites, which is where an excessive amount of fluid accumulates in the abdomen. This happens when the heart muscle becomes weaker. As the heart weakens, it sends less blood to the kidneys. Without proper blood flow, the kidneys stop function properly, and water retention occurs.
5. Passing Out
When a dog's heart stops performing as it should, blood flow to the brain can become inhibited. When this happens, dogs start fainting. Fainting is a sign that immediate medical attention is necessary.
If you notice your aging Great Dane experiencing any of the above symptoms, take your dog to see a veterinarian as soon as possible.