Mitral Valve Disease and Dogs

11:12:00 PM

What is  mitral valve disease?
It is a heart condition where the mitral valve (the valve on the left side of the heart) fails to function properly.

Who are most commonly affected?
Studies show that this disease are common in adult dogs or older dogs that are small to medium sized breeds. High prevalence of the disease were found in King Charles spaniel, Chihuahua, miniature poodle, miniature pinscher, terriers and miniature schnauzers.

What causes mitral valve disease in dogs?
This condition is caused by the accumulation of plaque in a dog's heart valve. Because the mitral valve is unable to function properly, blood is leaked back to the atrium (upper chamber) of the heart. As a result, the heart tries to pump harder to deliver blood to the atrium which can lead to congestive heart failure.

What are the symptoms of this condition?
Symptoms may not be obvious right away but as the condition worsens, a dog with this condition may have difficulty breathing and may experience frequent coughing. Clinical examinations on dogs may show heart murmur, a weak pulse and an increased heart rate.

How can this disease be prevented?
Although the exact cause of plaque accumulation cannot be specified, studies show that a dog's diet and physical activity plays a big role in preventing complications. Medical experts suspect that genetic predisposition is also a major factor in acquiring the disease.

What tests are needed to diagnose this condition?
A complete blood count(CBC), urinalysis, chest x-rays, electrocardiogram, and ultrasound heart examination are usually conducted to diagnose the problem. Regular check-up with your veterinary is a must since early detection can help improve your dog's condition.

What is the treatment for mitral valve disease?
As of yet, there is no cure for this disease. Although mitral valve replacement is done in humans, mitral valve surgery or mitral valve repair is not done in dogs. Presently, medications are available to help improve the dog's heart and alleviate some of its symptoms. A low sodium diet can also help prevent further complications.

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