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Dilated cardiomyopathy

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It's important that you and your dog pay regular visits to the vet. Discuss with your vet if you see any signs of heart failure in your dog, such as:

  • – Laboured or fast breathing at rest
  • – Reluctance to exercise and tiring more easily
  • – Poor appetite
  • – Weight loss
  • – Enlarged abdomen
  • – Weakness
  • – Fainting — often associated with exercise

Your vet will pick up clues to any heart-related problems with a thorough physical examination of your dog. By listening to your dog's heart with a stethoscope, your vet can assess heart rate and rhythm, and detect a murmur if one is present.

This gives your vet the greatest possible chance for early detection and treatment of heart disease. It also allows the vet to monitor your dog's treatment on an ongoing basis.

Your vet might also recommend radiographs (X-rays) or an ultrasound for your dog. These tests can help them detect fluid on the lungs, or an increase in heart size.

Another test your vet may use is an electrocardiogram (ECG) to record the electrical activity of the heart. This is a useful tool, particularly if there are problems with the rhythm of your dog's heartbeat.