Youtube Play

What is Heart Attack?

A heart attack, or “myocardial infarction,” happens when blood is blocked from reaching the heart muscle (myocardium). Deprived of oxygen and nutrients, the heart muscle dies and the affected heart chamber can no longer effectively pump blood through the body. Canine heart attacks have been seen in all breeds and are very rare. Increased risk for heart attack can be seen accompanying heart disease, congenital heart abnormalities, and genetic predisposition. Heart attacks require emergency medical attention and can result in sudden death. Canine heart attacks have been seen in all breeds and are very rare. If you notice symptoms of a heart attack in your dog, keep calm and contact a veterinarian immediately.

Heart Attack Average Cost

From 21 quotes ranging from $3,000 - $10,000

Average Cost

$8,000

Symptoms of Heart Attack in Dogs

There is little warning for a heart attack event. Collapse may be the first symptom observed. Symptoms associated with canine heart attack can include:

  • Slight fever (over 103° Fahrenheit/39.4° Celsius)
  • Vomiting
  • Panting/abnormal breathing
  • Increased heart rate (over 100 beats per minute for large breeds) (over 140 beats per minute for small breeds)
  • Lethargy
  • Head tilt
  • Confusion/Anxiety
  • Immobility
  • Rigidity
  • Seizure
  • Collapse
  • Sudden death
arrow-up-icon

Top

Causes of Heart Attack in Dogs

Causes of heart attack in dogs include:

  • Tumor: Tumor masses growing on or around the heart vasculature can block blood flow to the heart muscle.
  • Hypothyroidism: Thyroid gland does not produce thyroxine hormone – responsible for converting food to fuel for the body.
  • Nephrotic Syndrome: Kidney damage results in loss of protein involved in preventing blood clot formation. Blood clots are one cause of canine heart attack.
  • Bacterial infection: Infection in the body can lead to inflammation and blockage of blood flow to the heart muscle.
  • Vasculitis: Blood vessel inflammation as a result of infection, immune-mediated disease, or other injury to endothelial linings. Results in narrowed vasculature.
  • Atherosclerosis: Plaque builds up in the arteries, restricting blood flow or rupturing arteries. Rare in dogs but has been reported in some breeds.
  • Coronary artery disease: Extremely rare in dogs. Occurs only with severe hypothyroidism and associated high serum cholesterol levels.
arrow-up-icon

Top

Diagnosis of Heart Attack in Dogs

If you notice symptoms of a heart attack in your pet, keep calm and carefully wrap the pet in a blanket to calm him. Do not attempt CPR unless you have been professionally trained and know it is necessary. CPR can do more harm than good if it is not needed. Do not attempt to feed or give water in case of vomiting/asphyxiation. Keep young children away from the pet as pain and panic can cause aggressive behavior.

Calmly place your palm on the left side of the chest to feel the heart rate. Count the number of beats in 15 seconds and multiply your answer by 4. This gives you the number of beats per minute. Normal heart rate in dogs will be around 60-140 beats per minute depending on their size. Transport your pet to the veterinarian as soon as you can.

If your pet collapses, keep calm and carefully wrap her in a blanket and transport her to the veterinary clinic. Try to keep the events leading up to the collapse in your mind so you can report them to the veterinarian.

The veterinarian will collect any history as to what led up to the symptoms or collapse event. The vet will listen to the heart for any murmur, irregular pulse, or arrhythmia. Laboratory diagnostics can reveal valuable information as to cardiac function and possible causes of symptoms you are observing.

  • Electrocardiography (EKG): Determines cardiac electrical impulses and measures arrhythmias.
  • Complete Blood Cell Count (CBC): Determines red and white blood cell count, can detect possible infection.
  • Biochemistry: Examines kidney and liver function.
  • Urinalysis: Examines kidney and metabolic function.
  • Thyroid: Examines thyroid gland function.
  • Echocardiography: Detects fluid or masses around the heart, heart valve function, heart muscle and pericardial health.
  • Chest X-ray: Determines size of heart, fluid around heart, possible masses.

A Holter monitor or ambulatory EKG is useful to monitor heart health at home. Electrodes are taped onto the chest and the device is strapped on the back for 24 hours. The heart rhythms are recorded and times of rest versus times of exercise or stress are reported by the owner. The recording is analyzed for abnormal heart activity.

arrow-up-icon

Top

Treatment of Heart Attack in Dogs

Initial treatment may involve resuscitation and supportive care, depending on seriousness of the event. The initial goal is to regain normal heart activity. Medications may be used to thin the blood for ease of circulation. Hospitalization is often necessary to continue heart monitoring until the veterinary staff is certain the pet is stable.

A variety of medications are available for cardiac abnormalities depending on the identified cause. Pacemaker implants are more widely available for canines predisposed to heart problems. Surgery may be required to remove any mass that may be obstructing blood flow to or from the heart. Thyroid hormone replacement medications are common and available. Various diets and medications may provide preventive/supportive care for renal disease if damage is not severe. Antibiotics may prevent further damage to vessels and heart lining resulting from infection or inflammation. Anti-arrhythmic medications can correct arrhythmias.

Once the pet has become stabilized, potential of recurrence is based on cause of the problem and severity of the myocardial infarction. Surgery and medications can extend the life of the pet for many years when the issue is diagnosed early and treated responsibly. Medications may need to be administered over the remaining life of the pet. In the case of collapse, your pet may need to remain in the hospital overnight or longer for monitoring.

arrow-up-icon

Top

Recovery of Heart Attack in Dogs

The life of your pet after a heart attack will depend on the severity of the attack and its cause. Lifelong treatment may be required in the case of hypothyroidism, renal or heart disease. Regular heart monitoring in the veterinary clinic or with an ambulatory EKG recorder may be necessary to ensure stabilization over the first few weeks or months, possibly a few times per year for younger pets.

Activity restriction may be necessary for the first month while the pet stabilizes. Owners may want to become familiar with normal heart and breathing rate of their pet so rates can be taken after various times of high activity or stress. Change of diet or dietary supplements may be suggested by the veterinarian depending on the cause and severity of the event.

arrow-up-icon

Top

Heart Attack Average Cost

From 21 quotes ranging from $3,000 - $10,000

Average Cost

$8,000

arrow-up-icon

Top

Heart Attack Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

dog-name-icon

dog-breed-icon

I don’t know

dog-age-icon

Eight Years

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Unknown severity

thumbs-up-icon

4 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Stomach Full With Fluid And Hard Breathing

After a dog has a heart attack can they go into a coma ?

Aug. 6, 2020

Owner

answer-icon

Dr. Michele K. DVM

recommendation-ribbon

4 Recommendations

Thank you for your question. I wouldn't say that a dog would have a heart attack and survive, but with heart disease, they can become unresponsive, yes. If this is your dog that you were asking about, it would be best to have your dog seen by a veterinarian immediately. I hope that all goes well.

Aug. 6, 2020

Was this experience helpful?

dog-name-icon

Pam

dog-breed-icon

Jack Russell Terrier

dog-age-icon

4 Months

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Mild severity

thumbs-up-icon

4 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Mild severity

Has Symptoms

Twitching
Lethargy
Vomiting
Bloodlike Colored Stool

My Pam just died an hour ago and I don't know how or why. Mom told that before she left our house, my Pam was still playing with the other dogs... When I got home, all of our 5 dogs(including her) was so excited for having me home. Sat down a bit and my other dog sat down beside me too. I was playing all of them but then in a sudden moment, Pam suddenly paused and then layed down as if she was lifeless. I panicked out of shock. That was like at 5PM. She was vomiting the food she ate earlier(dog food). We thought she was just full but it was something else for me. I reportedly told my mom what happened to Pam then I was holding Pam facing in front of her like a baby. Mom was shocked because Pam suddenly peed like I think she had no control of doing it(shes a good pup). We didnt bother much because we thought, again, she was just full. And then she went out to the yard(Which means that she could still walk that time) for I dont know what reason so I started finding her almost everywhere in our lot because I know that this will happen (her, dying). When I found her, Her body was already a bit cold, her feet, her belly, her ears. I brought her back in the house, making her feel the warmth from me. I was so concerned that when I held her feet, it was too cold, and her belly having only half heat. I checked her mouth for further notice so that I can know if she's still okay. But When I checked her mouth, her gums was already white and dried and I tried giving her ample of water so that she won't get dried up (apparently I thought it sort of worked because she was able to gain saliva in her mouth again). As time was passing by, I thought she was slowly getting better because she was having her own body heat. I placed her beside me on my bed so that I can watch her closely. She still moved. Then I fell asleep within an hour and I felt her twitching like the act of having some seizures. So I quickly placed her on the floor to see what's happening to her and sadly, she looke liked she was having a hard time. Heavy breathing, catching her breath. Later on a bit, she suddenly stopped the heavy breathings. Her breathing was slowly fading but her heart wast still beating for 5 mins. Then I flashed a light on her eyes to see if it still dilates, but it wasn't responsive anymore, her pupil was steadily big. Upon her dying moment, on her heavy breathing, she was able to fart for like 3 times. I thought nothing came out of her butt. But when I picked her up to put her out of our room, she was able to push out a bloodlike colored stool. It wasn't soft or liquid but it looked grainy. Is there any possible connection (her stool) to die like this sudden? Please, I beg you to answer my questions, What could be the possible reason of her death? For that whole 6 hrs (5 PM to 1AM) From a happy active pup, to being lethargic, to vomiting, to twitching, to having bloodlike colored stool, to non responsive pupil (her death) Please, email me at marielencordia03@gmail.com, if you ever notice this... Thanks...

July 10, 2018

Pam's Owner

answer-icon

recommendation-ribbon

4 Recommendations

Whilst I understand that this is a distressing time, I cannot determine a cause of death without performing a necropsy and I don’t want to randomly speculate on a cause; puppies may be affected especially by infection, poisoning, parasites or internal disease. If you’re looking for specific answers, you should ask your Mom to take Pam for a necropsy to give you the answers you’re looking for. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

July 11, 2018

Was this experience helpful?

Heart Attack Average Cost

From 21 quotes ranging from $3,000 - $10,000

Average Cost

$8,000

Ask a vet
Need pet insurance?

Learn more in the Wag! app

Five starsFive starsFive starsFive starsFive stars

43k+ reviews

Install


© 2022 Wag Labs, Inc. All rights reserved.


© 2022 Wag Labs, Inc. All rights reserved.