Heart disease in dogs: Causes, Diagnosis, Treatment

Our beloved pets require a lot of attention and care, including constant health care. It consists in planned medical examination, prevention, diagnosis and treatment of detected deviations from the norm and diseases. Among the latter, an especially important place is occupied by heart diseases, in varying degrees of severity, in a latent or pronounced form, present in an impressive part of the animals kept in our homes.

Where do heart diseases come from?

There are many causes of diseases of the cardiovascular system, which are divided into congenital and received during life.

The first category is determined by heredity (genetic factor) or abnormalities that have arisen during the period of intrauterine development of the fetus.

Acquired heart diseases can appear as a result of the presence of single or group factors of internal disorders and external influences. These include infections, lifestyle changes, pathology of other organ and tissue systems, the consequences of intoxication, improper diet calculation, limitation of physical activity, physiological abnormalities, and so on.

Classification of heart disease

In addition to the above, all heart diseases are classified according to the anatomical principle, that is, the isolation of the tissue or part of the organ where the violation is detected:

  • Outer sheath (pericardium);
  • Myocardium (heart muscle);
  • Endocardium (inner layer).

They are also classified according to the dynamics of the work of the heart muscle associated with rhythm disturbances and heart rate.

The nomenclature separately considers neoplastic changes in heart tissue (for example, tumors) and diseases associated with coronary vessels, which provide tissues with oxygen and other vital substances. The most frequently registered:

  • Inflammation (myocarditis, endocarditis)
  • Diseases arising from them (fibrosis, hypertrophy)
  • Disorders in anatomy (aneurysm, septal defects, defects)
  • Arrhythmias (extrasystole, bradycardia)
  • Angina pectoris
  • Histological changes in the heart (myxoma, fibroma, teratoma).

Signs and diagnosis of heart disease

The danger of heart diseases is that they often do not appear outwardly, especially at the very beginning, and when symptoms awaken, a rather long period of their development is found. Common signs can be: shortness of breath, anxiety, coordination disorder, tachycardia, dystonia, fatigue, pain, weakness or paralysis of the limbs.

Diagnosis of heart disease in dogs is carried out in different ways, based on the study of general and specific signs, physiological failures and the differentiation of symptoms typical for a particular disease (disorder). Based on this, laboratory tests, ultrasound examination, radiography, auscultation are prescribed, from more modern ones - endoscopy and angiography.


Diseases of an inflammatory nature in dogs are usually treated with medication. Consistent, correctly planned treatment yields high positive results. But before that, it is necessary to determine what type of disease is detected - infectious or not, then appropriate anti-inflammatory drugs, antiviral agents or antibiotics are prescribed.

Anatomical abnormalities and neoplasms that do not lead to dysfunction of the heart and do not affect (or insignificantly affect) its work, as a rule, are not corrected, otherwise surgical intervention is required. The complexity of the operation depends on the localization of the defective tissue, its size, histological conditions and some other circumstances, and the feasibility of such an approach is determined individually, taking into account the general well-being of the patient, the depth of pathological changes and the prospects for prompt elimination of the causes.


Prevention of cardiovascular diseases in dogs is carried out through periodic examination, correct calculation of feeding and physical activity, establishing a balanced diet for pets. It is necessary to immediately treat other diseases that can cause undesirable consequences for the heart and blood vessels.

The effectiveness of the treatment of heart disease and other therapeutic measures depends on the correct and timely diagnosis and objective identification of the causes with the primary condition for their elimination. For many heart diseases in dogs, a complete cure is achieved, but there are a number of pathologies for which full and successful therapy is still impossible. In many cases, it implies symptomatic procedures for the general normalization of the dog's health and the constant use of drugs and other means to maintain the basic directions of his life. In this case, it is possible to extend the life of the person suffering from heart disorders, ensuring a more or less normal existence of the pet.

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