I read a rather staggering statistic today: Of the nearly 75 million dogs in the United States, it is estimated that about ten percent have heart disease. That figure jumps to more than 60 percent among elderly dogs and breeds predisposed to the disease. However, many dog owners are unaware that their pet may be at risk of heart failure.
Perhaps that will all change thanks to the Million Heart Challenge, an online fundraiser for canine heart disease research. Organized by Boehringer Ingeleheim Vetmedica, Inc., the company will donate $15,000 to the American College of Internal Veterinary Medicine in support of canine cardiology research as soon as one million visitors click on the heart at www.vetmedin.com/millionheartchallenge. You can only click once per day, but there is no limit to the number of days you can visit the site. Share the challenge with friends and you’ll be entered to win one of two vacations.
Symptoms of canine heart disease include coughing, difficult or rapid breathing, fainting, lack of energy, poor appetite and weight loss. If your dog exhibits any of these symptoms, consult with your vet as soon as possible. Early diagnosis and appropriate treatment and management can enable your dog to live a longer, and happier life.
While all dogs have the potential to develop heart disease, some breeds are more susceptible than others. Breeds such as Cavalier King Charles Spaniels, Poodles, Schnauzers, Chihuahuas and Fox Terriers are particularly susceptible to the valvular form of heart disease. Breed such as Dobermans, Boxers, Great Danes, Dalmatians, Irish Wolfhounds, St. Bernards, English Bulldogs and Cocker Spaniels are particularly susceptible to the second most common form of heart disease among dogs, Dilated Cardiomyopathy.
Did you click on the heart?