The heart is one of the most important organs in your pet's body, responsible for pumping oxygen-rich blood throughout the body to keep its functions regulated. In today's post, our internal medicine vets in Greeley vets discuss the types of heart diseases commonly seen in pets.
DMVD - Degenerative Mitral Valvular Degeneration
A pet's heart is just like a human's heart as it has two chambers with valves on either side that pump blood throughout the body. As your pet ages, these heart valves will begin to deteriorate and may get to the point where they no longer close completely. At this point, your pet's blood will no longer flow in the correct direction causing complications.
Degenerative mitral valve disease (DMVD) is the type of valvular degeneration that is most commonly known to affect dogs.
When a dog suffers from DMVD it is more likely that they are an older dog. With DMVD the mitral valve that separates the left atria from the left ventricle will become thick and weak, allowing some blood to flow backward through the valve with each heartbeat. The name for this backward flow of blood is called mitral valve regurgitation. As your dog ages, this condition will progress and valve regurgitation will increase. One of the unfortunate outcomes of this increased valve regurgitation is that progressive heart enlargement can occur, at this point your dog may be at increased risk of developing congestive heart failure (CHF). DMVD is not only more common in older dogs but also in smaller breeds of dogs. While this is an internal medicine condition that will affect most dogs, there is a small percentage of the dog population that will be affected more severely and require long-term management. Your internal medicinevets in Greeley may diagnose this disease if they detect any left-side heart murmurs during a routine check-up.
DCM - Dilated cardiomyopathy
This family of diseases related to internal medicine seen in dogs causes a weakening of the heart muscle which in turn leads to reduced blood flow out of the heart with each heartbeat. Over time this can cause the walls of the heart to stretch which in turn causes the chambers of the heart to dilate, or become larger when this happens then your dog will be at risk of developing CHF. While DCM can affect all breeds of dogs it most commonly affects large and giant breeds such as:
- Doberman Pinschers
- Great Danes
DMC is a naturally occurring group of diseases and is progressive once it occurs. Our internal medicine vets in Greeley are able to provide comprehensive internal medicine diagnostics can help to manage the symptoms allowing your pet to life a healthy life.
HCM - Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy
Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy or HCM is known for commonly affecting cats more frequently than dogs. HCM is caused by the abnormal thickening of the left ventricular muscle. The thickening of this muscle then decreases the ventricle’s ability to accept blood. This will cause an increase in the pressure within the heart causing dilation of the heart, and increasing the risk of congenital heart failure developing. When this happens the blood flow slows down and increases the risk of blood clots forming especially in the back legs.
HCM is known for not showing any symptoms and cats are known for being difficult to diagnose as they hide symptoms making it hard to spot. Cats with HCM are often not diagnosed until blood clots have already formed making treatment more challenging. Annual pet checkups and screening can help your internal medicine vet in Greeley to spot the earliest signs of heart disease in your feline friend so that treatment can begin while your cat is in the early stages when it is most effective.
While HCM is not curable, with regular veterinary internal medicine care it is possible for cats to live a long and happy life with a low risk of developing potential blood clots.
Congenital Heart Disease
Congenital heart diseases occur due to abnormal heart development. Your vet may discover a heart murmur during your pet's routine exam with their internal medicine vet which could then result in the diagnosis of congenital heart disease. Some of the most commonly diagnosed congenital heart diseases might include:
- Patent ductus arteriosus (PDA)
- Pulmonic stenosis
- Subaortic stenosis
- Ventricular septal defect (VSD)
If your pet has been diagnosed with congenital heart disease your internal medicine vet may recommend a minimally invasive surgery depending on the type of congenital heart disease your pet is experiencing.
Electrical impulses are responsible for each and every one of your heartbeats. These impulses begin at the top of the heart and work their down the heart in a coordinated way creating the heartbeat as we know it. Occasionally these impulses do not function the way they should and in these cases, an abnormal heart rhythm or arrhythmia may develop. Some of the more common arrhythmias that veterinary internal medicine in pets may find include:
- Tachycardia, or an increased heart rate
- Bradycardia, or a decreased heart rate
- Premature ventricular contractions
- Heart block
- Atrial fibrillation
Your internal medicine vet in Greeley can detect any possible arrhythmia during your pet's routine exam. Some of the common symptoms you may notice with an arrhythmia include weakness, lethargy, exercise intolerance, or collapse.
Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.