Heart Disease is an extremely serious condition where the heart has difficulty pumping blood to the rest of the body. It can affect one side of the heart or sometimes both sides. Although it can progress slowly and may take years to spot, a puppy born with the condition may show symptoms early on.
Coughing more than usual (during or after exercise or a few hours before bedtime), having difficulty breathing or exercising, tires easily, pacing before bedtime and having a hard time settling down.
As the disease progresses, symptoms can include a swollen belly (from fluid build-up in lungs and other organs), fainting (owing to blocked blood flow to the brain), a change in tongue or gum colour to bluish-grey owing to poor oxygen flow, weight loss (dog will lose ability to store healthy fat).
Old age, infection, injury. Diet and exercise can contribute to the onset of heart disease too, or exacerbate the pre-existing condition.
Some puppies are born with heart defects (congenital), often due to irresponsible breeding.