Dogs and cats with heart disease can develop heart failure, which results in rapid or labored breathing, cough, fainting, or loss of appetite. Many of these animals are on cardiac medications, although the doses of the drugs may change from day to day based on an animal’s needs. If owners can keep track of breathing rate and drug doses, this information can be invaluable to veterinarians at the time of the next recheck examination.
It may also help alert pet owners to a slow rise in breathing rate over several days, and a progressive increase in breathing rate should trigger a visit to the veterinarian for an examination, auscultation of the heart and lungs, and maybe a chest x-ray. A change in appetite can also be helpful when your veterinarian is trying to decide how to adjust heart medications or diet. The downloadable form can be used to keep track of your pet’s heart health each month.