Canine Heart Disease
Canine heart disease can either be acquired or congenital. Acquired heart disease makes up 95 percent of all heart problems.
Congenital heart disease manifests as heart defects that a dog is born with and these problems are usually diagnosed when the dog is still a puppy. Congenital heart disease accounts for only about five percent of heart disease.
Atrioventricular Valvular Insufficiency (AVVI) is the most common form of heart disease in dogs. It usually occurs in small or medium-sized dogs. Some of the breeds most prone to AVVI include Cavalier King Charles Spaniels, Miniature and Toy Poodles, Schnauzers, Lhasa Apsos, Chihuahuas, Yorkshire Terriers and Fox Terriers. Male dogs seem to be affected more often than female dogs. Untreated, the disease will lead to congestive heart failure.
Dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) is a disease of the heart muscle where the muscle is unable to pump with much effectiveness. The heart's muscle contractions are weak so it's not able to pump blood through the body's vascular system as it's supposed to. The heart becomes enlarged as it tries to pump harder, which only makes it less effective.
This disease, the second most common form of heart disease in dogs, will also lead to congestive heart failure if it's untreated. DCM most often occurs in medium and large breed dogs such as Doberman Pinschers, Boxer dogs, Great Danes, English Springer Spaniels, German Shepherd Dogs, Dalmatians, Irish Wolfhounds, Old English Sheepdogs, Saint Bernards, Bulldogs and Cocker Spaniels. Most dogs are affected between the ages of 2 and 5 years old. Once again, more males than females are affected.
Here are some of the symptoms of congestive heart failure in dogs:
Canine heart disease can be caused by a number of dog health problems, including the following:
Treatment for heart disease in dogs will depend on the exact problem affecting your dog, his age, his overall condition and health, and how far advanced the problem may be. There is no cure for most of the common causes of heart failure in dogs but, with treatment, many dogs may live for years after being diagnosed.
Treatment for this canine health problem may involve diuretics to remove a build up of fluid in your dog's lungs or abdomen. Furosemide is often used for this purpose. ACE-inhibitors may be used to open up your dog's blood vessels and allow blood to flow more easily for his heart to pump. Inodilators may be prescribed to encourage the heart to contract more and to open up blood vessels. This will reduce the work that your dog's heart has to do. The drug Vetmedin was introduced in 2007 for this purpose.
Your vet will need to monitor your dog and his medications to see that they are working as they should be. Let your veterinarian know if there are any changes in your dog's condition or behavior, especially if a new drug is introduced.
Many dogs may have canine heart disease for years without showing any symptoms. A slight heart murmur may be the first sign, so check-ups are very important. However, once your dog has heart disease it will progress, so it's important to begin treatment as soon as the disease is recognized.
There are a number of things you can do to prevent acquired heart disease in dogs.
Heart disease, along with so many other canine health problems, may be congenital and without a permanent cure. However, with proper care and regular veterinarian check-ups, the odds that your dog will lead a healthy, happy life go up dramatically.
With such a long list of breeds to choose from, some people have no clue what breed would fit their needs. If that describes you and you just want a nice family pet, adopting a dog from a local shelter or Humane Society may your very best option..
On the other hand, if you know exactly what you want and why, you should locate a reputable breeder who can help
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