The latest guidelines created a whole new classification system to describe the four basic stages of heart failure in dogs:
Your vet can use this system to determine whether your dog has heart disease and how far along his or her disease has progressed. The guidelines also list treatment options that are appropriate at each stage.
If you have a dog that is at risk for heart disease, the guidelines encourage you to bring him or her to a vet for a screening. The experts stress the importance of diagnosing dogs at risk of heart failure as early as possible, sometimes even before symptoms develop.