Free Heart Exams in Philadelphia on Monday -- for Dogs

By Susan Jones | April 18, 2011 | 10:31 AM EDT

( - A mobile examination room will roll into a Philadelphia dog park on Monday, offering free heart exams for dogs.

The goal is to help the animals "live longer and better lives," said Dr. Mark Oyama, a Philadelphia-area veterinary cardiologist who will help conduct the heart examinations.

In addition to providing free heart screenings, veterinarians will educate dog owners about heart disease – an ailment that is almost as prevalent in dogs as it is in humans, they say.

"Early diagnosis and treatment of heart failure can significantly prolong and improve the quality of a dog's life," said Oyama, who emphasizes the importance of annual veterinary examinations.

The most common symptoms of heart disease in dogs include a reluctance to walk or exercise, difficulty breathing, coughing, loss of appetite and weight loss.

The Mobile Dog Heart Health Tour – which travels around the country -- will stop in Philadelphia’s Seger Dog Park from 4 to 7 p.m. 

The doggie heart checks are sponsored by Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica, Inc., which is part of a “research driven pharmaceutical company.”