Providing free heart exams

Mobile exam room to visit St. Louis and Chicago this monthST. JOSEPH, Mo., Aug. 17 -- Later this month, dog owners in the Midwest will find that getting their pets' hearts checked is a walk in the park. Veterinary cardiologists on the Mobile Dog Heart Health Tour will make stops with a sound-proof medical unit at local parks in St. Louis on August 28 and in Chicago on August 30 to perform free dog heart examinations.


 

In addition to providing free heart health screenings, veterinarians will be available to answer questions for dog owners about the common ailment.

Heart disease in dogs is almost as prevalent as it is in humans. About 11 percent of the nearly 75 million dogs in the United States have heart disease, and that figure increases to as many as 60 percent among aged dogs and certain predisposed breeds. Yet, a national survey shows that more than half of dog owners are unaware that their dog may be at risk of heart failure.

"Early diagnosis and treatment of heart failure can significantly prolong and improve the quality of a dog's life," says Dr. Rebecca Stepien, a canine cardiologist who will travel with a local veterinarian on the Mobile Dog Heart Health Tour. "We look forward to reaching out to local dog owners to educate them about heart disease in dogs and the treatment options. By emphasizing the importance of annual veterinary examinations and early diagnosis of heart disease, we hope to help more dogs live longer and better lives."

At parks in St. Louis and Chicago, veterinary cardiologists will perform free dog heart screenings from inside a special soundproof mobile exam room. They will use a stethoscope to listen for heart murmurs and other irregular sounds as well as generally assess whether or not the dogs show any signs of heart disease.

The veterinarians on tour will also make sure that dog owners are aware of some of the common symptoms seen with heart disease: reduced willingness to walk or exercise, difficulty breathing, coughing, loss of appetite and weight loss. Dog owners can learn even more at www.yourdogsheart.com.

Midwest Mobile Dog Heart Health Tour

ST. LOUIS:

When: Friday, August 28, 2009, from 1 to 7 p.m.

Where: Forest Park - Upper Muny Parking lot at

Macklind & Union Drive

CHICAGO:

When: Sunday, August 30, 2009, from 12 noon to 6 p.m.

Where: Puptown Dog Park - 4921 N. Marine Drive