Heart Disease in Cats

25 Feb 2020

Another common form of heart disease in cats is “dilated cardiomyopathy” (DCM).  The heart chambers become enlarged making them less able to contract.

Scarring of the muscular wall, which causes thickening making it stiff and in-elastic, is known as “restrictive cardiomyopathy” (RCM) and can prevent the heart chambers from filling normally.

Some cats can be affected by a mixture of issues affecting the heart and usually the underlying cause is unknown but some causes are related to another disease such as an overactive thyroid, a nutritional deficiency or can even be hereditary or genetic. Download our information leaflet on heart disease in cats HERE and book in for a routine health check and start monitoring your cat’s health!

If your cat is 7 years old or older, you can also book in for a Senior Cat Clinic. This is complimentary and includes a free urine sample and blood pressure test. Download an information leaflet HERE for further information and call to book yours.

Mitral Valve Disease (MVD) is the most common form of heart disease that affects dogs.  To find out more about the disease and how it affects your dog, watch this short film HERE. If you have any concerns about your dog’s heart health or any health issues, contact the reception team today and book your appointment.

Specialist Cardiology

21 Feb 2020

We are always looking at ways in which we can improve or develop the very best health care services for our clients and their pets and one way in which we do this is through collaboration with others in the veterinary field. 

One well established and thriving collaboration is with Hannah Stephenson who is a specialist in veterinary cardiology.  Hannah visits Rowan regularly to offer a referral service right here on our doorstep  so that our clients don’t have to travel to access this very important aspect of pet care.    To find out more about Hannah and what she does, click to read her bio HERE

If you have any concerns regarding the heart health of your pet, call and book and appointment.

Owners are generally really good at knowing when their dog isn’t their usual self.  It can just be a hunch, a feeling or something more specific like them being more lethargic or not eating as much.  

Knowing what’s normal for your dog is really important so you can seek advice and care for them as soon as possible when you notice any change.  One really useful “norm” to be aware of is their breathing rate as an increase or decrease could be a sign of illness or disease.    

But how do you measure your dog’s breathing rate?  There is a great app available to download to your mobile device HERE which can show you how to measure the rate and record any results, or you can scan the QR code below. Be advised, this is NOT a diagnostic tool so if you have any concerns about your dog’s health, contact your vet.

App QR Code

Heart disease in rabbits is VERY difficult to detect.  Symptoms are quite generalised with the disease often detected in the late stages when the symptoms are much more obvious.

Development of the disease can vary.  Larger breeds such as French Lops and Continental Giants have a shorter lifespan so are considered as senior as early as 3-4 years old.  However smaller breeds such as the Netherland Dwarf may not be classed as senior until 8!

Heart disease can affect fit and active rabbits but the cause of many heart problems in rabbits is usually due to a diet too rich in fat or a lack of exercise.

So what are the symptoms owners can look out for?  A loss of appetite and a refusal to eat, fatigue and an intolerance to exercise are some signs.  They may have an extended tummy, produce hard and dry faeces or have diarrhoea.

In the later stages of the disease your rabbit may develop a nasal discharge and deep cough or snore when they sleep.  They may also breath more quickly or mouth breath (breathing with their mouth open). If you have any concerns about the health of your rabbit, call and book an appointment with one of our vets.  For more information on the general care needs of your rabbit, download our information leaflet HERE

Heart 1.jpg

Heart disease in cats tends to be well established before there are any signs that there is an issue.  This is mainly because cats are masters of hiding pain and ill health that might show them to be weak and easily preyed upon.  Most health related issues are usually picked up through a routine health check at the vets so it’s important that your cat has regular health checks.

The most common type of heart disease in cats is called ‘hypertrophic cardiomyopathy’ (HCM).  Physical changes, an increase in the thickness of the muscular wall, reduces the volume of blood within the heart as a result and prevents the heart muscle from relaxing properly between contractions.

Early detection is very important.  Any health issue that can be detected in the early stages has a much better chance of being managed conservatively, slowing down the progression of the disease.  This in turn increases the length of your pet’s life but also the quality of that life.

To find out more information about cats and heart disease, download our information leaflet HERE.  If you have any concerns about your cat’s health, book in for a consultation with one of our vets or if your cat is 7 years or over and you would like to take a more proactive approach to managing your cat’s health, why not take advantage of a complimentary Senior Cat Clinic!  You can access a full health and weight check, a complimentary urine sample test and a blood pressure check.  For more information download our information leaflet HERE

Dog with heart cushionOne of the most common forms of heart disease in dogs is Mitral Valve Disease (MVD).  This disease can affect all breeds of dog but is more common in small and medium sized dogs.

One of the first signs that there might be a problem is from the detection of a heart murmur during a routine health check.  Take a listen to the audio tracks below – one is of a normal heart beat and one is of a heart murmur.  The difference in sound is caused by the way the blood flows through the heart chambers and because there is a fault with the valve/s, it changes the way the blood flows and subsequently the sound it makes.




Heart Murmur

Normal Heart Beat

You can also download our leaflet HERE  which provides more information on what MVD is and how it can be managed.  If you have any concerns or questions about your dog’s heart health, call and book an appointment today on 01772 639800 OR 01253 766352.

For information on heart disease in general there is a great website for owners to visit HERE  Just put in the breed of your dog  to access lots of information on heart conditions and disease.

StethescopeA message we want to share with our clients is the importance of regular health checks as part of the routine care of your pet.  It’s during these checks that health issues are usually detected, heart disease being one.  It’s really important that issues are identified early so that steps can be taken to monitor or manage them before they become a serious health threat.  This means more quality time together but also a better quality of life for your pet.

A sign that there might be disease of the heart in your pet is the development of a heart murmur.  As part of a routine health check your vet will listen to your pet’s heart.  They want to measure how many times it beats a minute and also how it sounds.  The sound of the blood flowing through the chambers of the heart can sound different when something isn’t working properly.  If a heart murmur is detected the vet may recommend an ultra-sound scan to measure the size of the heart to find out more about what might be happening with your pets heart.

We have further information HERE about heart disease in cats and HERE about heart disease in dogs.  There’s also a great website for dog owners which can provide further information HERE

During this months heart awareness campaign, ultra-sound scans are being offered at less than half the usual price if a murmur is detected in your dog.  Ask the vet for further information and call to book your scan!

heart-on-nose-520827-sWith February being the month of love, we thought we’d take the opportunity to raise awareness of one of your pet’s most vital of organs, the heart!

As with humans, the heart is responsible for circulating blood throughout the body to transport nutrients, oxygen and hormones to cells and to remove metabolic waste.  In short, it’s pretty important so when it’s not working properly it can cause problems anywhere in the body.

One of the key pieces of equipment used to help diagnose suspected conditions and disease of the heart, is our ultra-sound scanner; take a look HERE.  During this heart awareness campaign month we are pleased to be able to offer this service for less than half the usual price for any dogs who are found to have a heart murmur.  Please ask the team for further details.


One of the first signs of a potential problem with the heart is the detection of a heart murmur.  A murmur is more often than not picked up during a routine health check.  However, the presence of a murmur isn’t always an indication of a more serious condition or disease.  Identification early on can be managed conservatively or even just monitored.

This state of the art machine is not just a one trick pony though!  It can be used in pregnancy to identify how many pups or kittens might be due or to make sure that all have been birthed.  It can scan all internal organs, not just the heart, such as the liver, kidneys and spleen to check for masses or obstructions or to just generally aid the vet in getting a better idea of what might be going on inside your pet.  Both Francis and Lotti use this machine regularly as part of the diagnostic services we provide to our clients and their pets, and are well trained and skilled in its use.

We also work very closely and in collaboration with Hannah Stephenson, a specialist in veterinary cardiology, so our clients and their pets can access a specialist referral service here at Rowan when further diagnosis of suspected heart conditions or disease is required.

If you have any concerns about the health of your pet, call and speak to the reception team to book your appointment!

Monthly Mash Up

31 Jan 2020

Lighbulb on PinboardNew for 2020 is our “Monthly Mash Up” newsletter which provides owners with a flavour of the topics we’ve been sharing across the month.  With a useful download to refer to when needed, we want you to be able to access reliable pet care information when you want and need to.  Download your copy HERE

If any of the health issues mentioned affect your pet, get in touch.  We run lots of complimentary clinics to offer advice and guidance on preventative health care so speak to the team about booking yours today!

Photo by AbsolutVision on Unsplash