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Category: heart diseases


Heart disease is increasingly common in dogs – probably because their average life expectancy is being extended due to improved veterinary care. Some heart defects, eg hole in the heart, are present from birth (congenital heart defects) but may only cause signs as the dog gets older. Other diseases develop later in life as a result of the effects of ageing or damage to the heart. The most common heart diseases in the dog develop in older dogs as the heart starts to wear out.

The signs of heart disease are often very similar whatever the cause. Many of the signs of heart disease can be confused with natural ageing changes. Reduced energy and less desire to exercise are common. Dogs with severe heart disease often have poor appetites and may lose weight. If water retention occurs as a result of the heart failure you might not notice that your dog is losing weight. Other common signs of heart failure are panting and coughing due to fluid build up in the lungs – but remember these signs may be seen with many other diseases too. Less commonly, dogs with heart disease may faint or collapse.

In almost all cases the sooner heart disease is recognised and treated the better the outcome will be. If you are worried about your dog in any way always seek further advice from your vet.

Ventricular Septal Defect (VSD)

Ventricular septal defect (VSD) is one of the more common congenital heart defects in dogs. It is sometimes referred to as a hole in the heart. The condition is often discovered in apparently healthy dogs by a vet during a

Pulmonic Stenosis

Pulmonic stenosis is one of the more common congenital heart defects in dogs. The condition is often discovered in apparently healthy dogs by a vet during a routine examination (such as before vaccination). What is pulmonic stenosis? Pulmonic stenosis is

Patent Ductus Arteriosus (PDA)

Patent ductus arteriosus is one of the more common congenital heart defects in dogs. The condition is often discovered in apparently healthy dogs by a vet during a routine examination (such as before vaccination). What is a patent ductus arteriosus?

Mitral Valve Disease

Mitral valve disease is the most common cause of a heart murmur in dogs. Many cases are detected by a vet after a routine examination (such as before vaccination) before dogs show any signs of illness. If your dog has

Investigating Heart Disease

It is important that your vet can recognise the early stages of heart failure (and therefore when to begin therapy, if necessary). Investigations of animals with heart disease are important to identify early signs of failure and to establish the

High Blood Pressure (Hypertension)

Hypertension (high blood pressure) has long been known to be a problem in people and is being increasingly recognised in pets. Hypertension is very common in older people and is often associated with smoking, or with stressful living. In animals,

Heart Rhythm Disturbance (Atrial Fibrillation)

There are many different heart problems that can affect dogs. Some of these affect the rhythm of the heart beat and one such condition is atrial fibrillation. This is most commonly seen in large and giant breeds of dog but

Heart Disease: Drug Treatment

Heart disease does not necessarily mean heart failure. Many dogs with heart disease have no outward signs of illness and are able to lead relatively normal lives without any medication. However, most heart diseases will get worse and once symptoms

Heart Disease In Your Dog

Heart disease is increasingly common in dogs - probably because their average life expectancy is increasing due to improved veterinary care. Some heart defects, e.g. hole in the heart, are present from birth (congenital heart defects) but only cause signs

Dilated Cardiomyopathy (DCM)

Dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) is a disease affecting the heart muscle. It is the second most common heart disease in dogs (after mitral valve disease). In DCM the heart is unable to contract normally and as the muscle stretches the heart