How The K9 Heart Works

Posted: September 28, 2010 by at K9 Health & Fitness

The heart is one of the most important parts of a dog’s body. Its job is to pump oxygen-rich blood to every living cell in his body and must continue to beat for his entire lifespan.

All mammalian hearts have two sides; the left side pumps oxygenated blood around the body, and that oxygen is taken up by the cells. When the blood returns to the heart, it is then pumped by the right side of the heart to the lungs, where it picks up another payload of oxygen. It’s a system that works very well, considering that the muscle has to work 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
When a dog’s heart stops working effectively, the result is less oxygen being delivered to his body, so his organs start to fail.

Early symptoms of low levels of oxygen in the blood are:

A bluish hue to the gums
Lack of energy
Dizziness and even loss of consciousness.

If blood oxygen levels stay low for any length of time, there may be long term effects on his brain, liver and kidneys which can cause even further problems. This means that if your dog is showing signs that his body is short of oxygen, it’s important that you find out the reason as soon as possible. This will prevent long term health problems.

Diagnostic tests will focus on your dog’s heart and lungs, as it is these organs that are responsible for firstly, getting the oxygen into his blood, and secondly, getting that oxygen around his body. Problems can occur in either areas.

In Summary
– There are several medications that can improve the heart’s pumping ability. Some drugs make the heart muscle contract more effectively, whereas other drugs dilate the blood vessels and make it easier for the blood to flow through the body. Your veterinarian will prescribe the right medication for your dog’s specific heart problem, and he’ll feel better very soon.