Cardiomyopathy is a disease of the heart muscle and can affect dogs and cats.
In dogs, any breed can be affected, but it seems to be more common in large breed dogs, namely Doberman, Portuguese Water Dog, Boxer, Dalmatian, Great Dane and São Bernardo. The Cocker Spaniel, despite being considered a medium-sized dog, also appears to be a predisposed breed. The clinical signs in dogs are varied, ranging from general tiredness and weakness, exercise intolerance, syncope (fainting), pale mucous membranes, coughing or breathing difficulties, abdominal dilation and sudden death.
Also in cats, any breed can be affected, although Maine Coon, British Shorthairs and Ragdolls seem to be more predisposed to this disease. In this species, the clinical signs are more subtle and these animals may be asymptomatic (without any clinical sign) or with a slight decrease in activity (they tend to sleep more and decrease play time), present syncope (fainting), breathing difficulties or sudden death.
The veterinarian is often able to identify cardiomyopathy before clinical signs manifest, through cardiopulmonary auscultation, namely by detecting a murmur (an abnormal sound between the heartbeat), in cases where it is present.
If you have a geriatric animal, have regular check ups with your veterinarian in order to detect diseases such as cardiomyopathy early.