Heart Disease in Dogs
There's no single cause of heart disease in dogs. Aging, obesity, breed, and nutrition can all play a role. Heart valve problems are the most common issue and typically affect small breed dogs that are five years or older.
No matter what heart condition your dog has, it's important to spot the signs early. Since 95% of heart conditions in dogs come on as they age, it's easier to manage as soon as it develops.
Two Main Heart Conditions in Dogs
At CVCA Cardiac Care for Pets, we see a lot of different heart conditions in dogs, but the following are the two most common.
Valve Disease: Mitral regurgitation, a valve disease, is a common cause of a heart murmur in dogs. Blood flow becomes turbulent and creates the murmur. Murmurs are graded on a scale of 1-6... the higher the number, the more obvious the murmur. Your dog can lead a normal life with a heart murmur. A board-certified dog cardiologist can diagnose and help treat the condition.
Heart Muscle Disease: DCM, or dilated cardiomyopathy, is the most common form of heart muscle disease. With DCM the muscles degenerate and begin to wear thin. That thinning decreases the heart's ability to contract and pump blood, and leads to congestive heart failure. DCM in dogs is irreversible but can be controlled through medications available through your board-certified dog cardiologist.