Warning signs all dog owners should pay attention to

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March 15, 2013, 11:54 am
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(NECN/NBC News: Kurt Gregory) - If your dog is coughing or just not acting normal, veterinarians say it may not be just a cold or allergies, it could be something much more serious.

Now experts say it could be heart disease.

There are warning signs you need to look out for.

We do almost everything with our pets and now experts are warning that heart disease is just as dangerous for our four legged friends.

In fact, more than 11-percent of all of the dogs in the United States suffer from heart disease.

“I think a lot of people think their dogs may just be getting old when in fact some of the signs and symptoms of "getting old" your day may in face have heart disease. It's more prevalent than you think," Dr. Terri Defrancesco says.

Veterinarians warn the symptoms of congestive heart failure in dogs can mimic the aging process.

"Early on in heart disease, the signs are very non-specific. Tiredness, maybe not greeting you. As the disease develops you start to develop fluid in the lungs, coughing and shortness of breath are the most common signs," says Dr. Defrancesco.

Veterinarians say early detection is the key to treatment.

"Go to your vet they will listen to your dog's heart carefully. They will listen for a heart murmur or an irregular heartbeat. And they may run other tests. Early detection and early treatment will help your dog live a longer life."

Which means more years of fun with Fido.

Tags: dogs, pets, heart disease, NBC News, Kurt Gregory, veterinarians, dr. terri defrancesco
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