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What You Need To Know About Canine Heart Disease

Vet Listening to Dog's Heartbeat

Heart disease affects 7 to 8 million dogs in the United States. Canine heart disease is common in many types of dog breeds and can be either congenital or developed later in life. Approximately 75 to 80% of dogs in the United States with heart disease have the variation known as mitral valve disease, a condition in which the mitral valve in the dog's heart degerates and begins leaking.

Smaller breeds of dogs, especially Cavalier King Charles Spaniels, Chilhuahuas, Toy Poodles, and Dachshunds are prone to developing mitral valve disease. Meanwhile, larger canine breeds such as Labrador Retrievers, Old English Sheepdogs, Great Danes, German Shepherds and Irish Setters are more likely to develop issues with the tricuspid valve on the right side of the heart.

Large dogs can develop dilated cardiomyopathy, another type of heart disease that weakens the dog's heart muscle. This causes difficulties in contracting and pumping blood, which makes the heart work too hard and enlarge abnormally.


A heart murmur is a sure sign that your dog may have heart disease. Your veterinarian may recommend diagnostic tests to examine your canine's heart and test for how severe the heart condition is. Other signs your dog may be suffering from heart disease is when he or she shows reluctance for excersing, has an abnormal respiration rate, coughs, or has a blue tint on the gums or tongue.

As your dog's heart disease progresses, your canine companion will experience more severe symptoms, including weakness, loss of consciousness, abdominal enlargement from fluid retention, and difficulties lying down.


Although there is no cure for most kinds of canine heart disease, your dog's condition can be managed with medication. An early diagnosis is the best thing you can do for your pet so they can be treated with medication as soon as possible.

The good news is that even when your canine companion's heart disease is severe or congestive heart failure has developed, if he or she is treated as soon as possible they can still live a high quality of life for a good amount of time.

5 Cat Training Mistakes to Avoid

cat training

Are you making cat training mistakes with your felines? Here are five common cat training mistakes for pet owners to avoid:

  1. Assuming that it takes large blocks of time to train your cat. Cats are intelligent animals and learn best in short training sessions that are spread periodically throughout the day. Large blocks of training time are overwhelming and unnecessary for both you and your feline.
  2. Acknowledging bad behavior and ignoring good behavior. Cats like to receive attention from their owners. If they realize that you give them attention every time they climb an indoor tree or scratch furniture, they will continue the bad behavior. The way to reverse your cats' behavior is instead of scolding them whenever they misbehave, either ignore the behavior or distract them with something else. By contrast, praise your felines whenever they demonstrate good behavior, such as using their scratching post instead of your sofa.
  3. Punishing instictive behavior. Natural cat behaviors, such as climing, jumping, clawing, pouncing, etc., are behaviors that pet owners may find inappropriate and may respond by punishing their cat's natural instincts. To encourage your cat towards good behavior, invest in shelving, perches, cat trees, etc., for your cat to explore and quench his or her thirst for climbing and jumping. Toys, boxes and laundry baskets are also great alternatives to keep your cat entertained. Finally, play with your cats, and encourage them to use their cat trees, boxes and other toys as this will help to curb their interest in jumping onto your kitchen table and countertops.
  4. Expecting your feline to understand you without any training. Your cat does not instinctually understand what "no" means. For example, if you need your cat to get off he counter, instead of punishing the bad behavior and yelling "No!", encourage future good behavior by immediately placing your cat on his or her cat tree after he or she was being naughty. Use positive reinforcement with your cat always and in time, they will learn with consistent training what "no" means.
  5. Setting unrealistic training goals for your cat. Don't push your feline to learn so much so fast as this can be overwhelming for both you and your cat. Remember that not all cats are the same as some will receive training and changes in their environment better than others. Above all, remember to have patience with your cat -- the rewards will be long-lasting.

How To Maintain Your Dog's Bad Breath

Health Concerns & Causes of Bad Breath in Dogs

If your pet canine has bad breath, consider that it could be more than just a mere annoyance. Bad breath in dogs frequently indicates an on-going health issue that may become severe over time if not treated. Here are some signs of what to look for and what to do to curb your dog's foul-smelling breath.

maintain your dog's bad breath

Periodontal Disease

Many pet dogs by the age of three will develop periodontal disease or gingivitis. When bacteria in the mouth becomes plaque and tartar, it may become painful over time for your pet. Your canine may have troubles chewing and may even suffer from tooth and bone loss without treatment.

Oral Problems

Sometimes the cause of bad breath is from oral issues, including tumors or oral cancer developing in your dog's mouth. Gingival Hyperplasia, an overgrowth of the gums, is another condition that could be inflicting your pet. If you discover an oral growth or abnormalities in your dog's mouth, call your veterinarian to schedule an appointment as soon as possible.


In puppies, the cause of bad breath may be due to their adult teeth growing in. Routinely brushing your puppy's teeth will help to combat bacteria developing on the gumline and reduce stinky breath.

Gastrointestinal & Metabolic Diseases

If your dog is suffering from a gastrointestinal or metabolic disease, this may have an impact on bad breath as well. These diseases affect the esophagus, stomach, intestines and the digestive system. Bad breath can even be an indicator of a serious health issue like kidney failure or liver disease.

Other Causes

Food lodging in the back of your dog's mouth inbetween the teeth and tartar buildup may be a less life-threatening cause but nevertheless an ever present issue for your pet. To prevent plaque from developing, give your canine Milk-Bone® Brushing Chews® or other similar dental treats. These treats are designed specifically to access hard-to-reach areas of your dog's mouth while brushing.

If you ever notice a change in your dog's breath or why he or she has such bad breath in general, it is a good idea to take your furry companion to the vet. Even though you may regularly care for your dog's teeth, be sure to routinely schedule dental checkups and cleanings. Much like humans, dogs will need to have one to two checkups a year. Discuss with your veterinarian any concerns you have about your dog's oral health and how many dental appointments will be necessary.

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  • Temperance

    My wife and I have been taking our dog to Countryside Vets for about three years now. We had an unfortunate encounter with our previous veterinarian but switching to Countryside Vets years ago has been the best decision! She has always been treated well at Countryside and Dr. Popp has always been more than friendly! Thank you!
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CountrySide Veterinary Services
W3022 Edgewood Trail
Appleton, Wisconsin 54913
CountrySide Veterinary Wellness
1835 E Edgewood Drive #103
Appleton, WI 54913