March 2017 – Anyone who has a heart…

Hello everyone,

Being irresistible isn’t easy you know. The sheer logistics around Valentine’s Day a couple of weeks ago, of sending out all those roses and cards (not chocolates remember!) can really put a strain on the old heart!!

Luckily, my vets at Maids Moreton and Cherry Lane have been busy providing special heart check-ups during February and through March. Dogs like me and some other breeds (e.g. Boxers, Dobermans, spaniels), as well as any dog over 25kg are slightly prone to a condition called dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM). This condition makes the heart muscle go thin, floppy and dilates the heart- meaning it does not work as a pump very well. This disease has two phases to it- a long silent phase (no clinical signs and dogs seem clinically well) and a short clinical phase (coughing, weakness and collapse are seen). I was chatting to Anna the vet whilst waiting for my food and she said two bits of new information have changed on how we deal with this condition.

Firstly, a blood test can be used to screen us to pick up the problem in this silent phase. Secondly, if there is a problem it can now be treated before clinical signs have developed – meaning we can keep running around having fun for longer. She said if the blood test is high then they do a special scan of the heart and take various measurements of the ventricles, aorta, atria as well as the contractility of the heart (if I’m honest she lost me at this point- to be fair it was getting closer to dinner time and I was thinking about food!). If it all comes back normal the vets will keep a close eye on things and if there is anything not quite right they will recommend starting some treatment straight away to delay problems for as long as possible.

The good news is I had my heart checked out and I’m fit and well- so I can carry on spreading the love for another year!! If you know someone who needs their heart checked out call either practice before the end of March so they can be booked in for the test.

I will be in touch soon, your friend Nog