It is important for you and your dog to make regular visits to the veterinarian. Early diagnosis and treatment will ensure your dog leads a happier, healthier, and longer life. Your veterinarian will follow a series of key steps and use some of the latest diagnostic tools to distinguish heart disease from respiratory problems.
1. Clinical History - The veterinarian will need to know the age, breed, and medical history of your dog. He/she will evaluate the onset and type of cough and may ask about:
2. Physical Examination - a thorough physical examination will provide your veterinarian with clues as to whether your dog has any heart-related problems. He/she will evaluate:
3. Listening to your dog's heart and lungs - A stethoscope may allow your veterinarian to determine if a heart murmur is present. (Appreciate that not all murmurs are easily heard.) Also, the heart rate and rhythm can be assessed with a stethoscope to determine if there is an irregular heartbeat. He/she can listen to the lungs to detect abnormal sounds.
4. X-rays - Technically known as radiographs, an x-ray can help the veterinarian evaluate the size and shape of the heart and assess the severity of your dog's heart disease.
5. Additional tests: