Pet Symptom Checker

Heart disease

Medical name: Cardiomyopathy

Emergency Warnings



  • Loss of appetite
  • Stressful breathing
  • Dry cough
  • Lack of energy
  • Racing heartbeat
  • Lethargy
  • Muscle weakness
  • Open-mouth breathing
  • Unable to move
  • Distressed breathing
  • Weakness
  • Weight loss
  • Fainting


Cardiomyopathy in pets refers to a type of heart disease that is characterized by the deterioriation of the heart muscle. If your pet is suffering from cardiomyopathy, he may exhibit stressful or open-mouthed breathing. Normally dogs breathe 10 to 30 times a minute, whereas the average cat takes 10 to 40 breaths. At rest, these should be silent, effortless breaths. The chest and abdomen rise and fall without signs of discomfort or distress and the animal is breathing through its nose. Other symptoms of cardiomyopathy may include a dry cough, as if the animal is trying to relieve some irritation or expel something more solid from his airway, weakness, or even fainting. Your pet may also have a racing heartbeat. To take your pet's pulse, with the animal sitting or lying in a relaxed position, locate the heart (on the left side of the chest near the elbow) with the palm of one hand (the other hand can restrain or reassure your pet). Count beats for 15 seconds and multiply by 4 to get beats per minute. You can also take your pet's pulse in the groin area, where you’re feeling for the femoral artery where the hind leg meets the body. For a small dog (up to 20 pounds) at rest, a normal heart rate is 70-180 beats per minute. Medium- and large-size dogs’ hearts (at rest) beat at an almost-humanlike 60-140 beats per minute. Young puppies (up to 6 weeks) race along at as much as 220 beats. Cats, too, normally have fast hearts: somewhere between 120-240 in adult cats and up to 300 beats per minute in young (up to 6 weeks) kittens. If you suspect that your pet is suffering from cardiomyopathy, do not delay in seeking veterinary medical attention. If left untreated, cardiomyopathy can lead to heart failure.

Zootoo does not provide veterinary medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of a veterinarian with any questions you may have regarding your pet’s medical condition.
If you think your pet may be experiencing a medical emergency, call your veterinarian or an emergency animal care facility immediately.

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