What Are the Symptoms of Heart Disease in Dogs and How Should They Be Treated?

Dog Health

Heart diseases are observed more frequently in dogs than in cats. Dogs with heart diseases and heart failure problems as a result of heart diseases may experience various symptoms such as getting tired quickly, coughing and decreased appetite. Since the signs of heart disease in dogs can change, it is very important to know these symptoms in order to be recognized early and consulted with veterinarians. In this article, you can find information about heart diseases in dogs and the symptoms of heart diseases in dogs.

Causes of Heart Diseases in Dogs

Heart diseases in dogs do not occur for a single reason. Often multiple risk factors lead to signs of heart disease in dogs. It can be stated that factors such as genetic predisposition, obesity, aging and nutrition can cause heart diseases in dogs. Heart disease in dogs can occur in different types; The type of disease can cause changes in symptoms.

veterinarian listening to little dog's heart

The Most Common Heart Diseases in Dogs

Heart disease in dogs may be congenital or may occur later due to diet, racial predisposition, or lifestyle. Congenital heart diseases can also be defined as “congenital heart diseases” and in this case, dogs experience heart problems from the moment they are born. The symptoms of congenital heart disease usually get worse with the passage of time. The source of congenital heart diseases is mostly genetic factors. Some dogs are more prone to heart disease. It may be possible to control the symptoms of congenital heart diseases in dogs by following a healthy diet program, exercising and leading a stress-free life.

Heart diseases in dogs can also develop later. Some heart diseases (Valvular disease – heart valve disease) are especially dangerous for small breed dogs, while some heart diseases (myocardial disease) affect more large breed dogs. It can be stated that infections that are sometimes exposed and not treated can cause heart diseases in dogs. Unlike congenital heart diseases, it is possible to prevent subsequent diseases. Regular vaccinations, not interrupting the exercises, and nutrition appropriate for their developmental stages “How can heart diseases be prevented in dogs?” can turn into answers to questions. You can view the dog foods and ingredients specially formulated for the developmental stages of dogs by clicking here.

Mitral Valve Insufficiency

The valves that control blood flow in the heart are called valves. Each time the heart beats, the valves open to allow blood to pass and then close to prevent blood from leaking backwards. Mitral valve disease causes thickening of the mitral valve, resulting in a restriction in its ability to close. When the mitral valve does not close properly, blood leaks back and the heart starts working harder to pump enough blood to the body. Mitral valve disease increases the risk of heart failure in dogs.

Mitral Valve Regurgitation Symptoms in Dogs

The signs of heart disease in dogs may vary depending on the disease and the progression of the disease. Symptoms of mitral valve disease in dogs can include heart wheezing, coughing that increases at night while sleeping or resting, decreased energy, increased breathing frequency, fainting, and weight loss, which can be diagnosed by veterinarians. An ultrasound scan, X-ray, blood tests, and EKG may be required when diagnosing mitral valve regurgitation in dogs.


Myocarditis, also called heart inflammation, is a heart disease in dogs caused by swelling of the heart muscle. Often there are no symptoms until it causes heart failure. It is not always easy to find the exact cause of this heart disease, which can occur due to viral diseases, infections, injury, exposure to toxins and mineral deficiency.

Myocarditis Symptoms in Dogs

Symptoms of myocarditis, which can be diagnosed by using various diagnostic methods such as complete blood count, blood gas measurement, x-ray, EKG, Echo, include fever, decreased appetite, swelling in the joints, joint pain, arrhythmia, difficulty in breathing, weakness and heart wheezing.

doctor examining brown and white dog

Dilated Cardiomyopathy

It is a common disease that usually affects large breed dogs such as Dobermans, Irish Wolfhounds and Great Danes. It is also quite common in the Cocker Spaniel breed. The disease may not cause any symptoms until it reaches its late stages. Dilated cardiomyopathy disease is characterized by enlargement of the chambers in the heart. The walls of the left ventricle become thinner, stretched, and the heart’s ability to pump blood around the body decreases. As the heart cannot send enough blood to the body, blood flow to the body decreases. This can trigger arrhythmia and congestive heart failure in dogs.

Symptoms of Dilated Cardiomyopathy in Dogs

As just mentioned, this disease may not always cause noticeable symptoms. Clinical manifestations may include various symptoms such as weakness, coughing, shortness of breath, arrhythmia, and retching.

Congestive Heart Failure

Heart failure can be considered as a condition or complication that can develop as a result of various problems and threaten health, rather than being a heart disease on its own. Heart failure, which is a result of the weakening of the heart and its inability to send enough blood to the body, is among the most common health problems in dogs. Heart failure in dogs can be divided into different types, and the symptoms it causes may differ on a species basis.

Heart Failure Symptoms in Dogs

Symptoms of heart failure in dogs can vary depending on the causes of heart failure and the heart chamber affected. Symptoms of left-sided congestive heart failure in dogs are associated with increased pressure in the vessels through which blood is delivered to the left ventricle. This can cause fluid to accumulate in the lungs, leading to a respiratory system condition called pulmonary embolism. Cough, difficulty breathing, and difficulty exercising are among the most common symptoms. In addition, dogs with left-sided congestive heart failure often pass out due to reduced blood flow to the brain. They may also experience symptoms such as low blood pressure and decreased heart rate. If the heart failure is right-sided, there may be fluid accumulation in the abdomen, chest cavity, liver and limbs.

As a result, the symptoms of heart diseases in dogs, disease, progression of the disease, etc. elements may vary. It should not be neglected to consult the expertise of veterinarians when symptoms such as coughing, weakness, difficulty in breathing, respiratory distress, fainting, fatigue and decreased appetite, which are among the most common symptoms, are encountered.

doctor looking at heart rhythm of golden dog

Heart Disease Treatment Methods in Dogs

Treatment methods for heart diseases in dogs are determined according to the disease. While some heart diseases may require surgery to improve, some diseases may require the simultaneous use of one or more medical drugs or the follow-up of the disease. Treatments for heart diseases in dogs generally aim to control the symptoms of heart disease in dogs, to minimize the damage to the heart muscles, to control the fluid reaching the lungs, to accelerate the blood circulation, to regulate the heart rhythm, to reduce the risk of blood clots and to increase the amount of oxygen in the blood. When heart diseases in dogs are diagnosed early and the right treatment methods are applied, it may be possible to improve the quality of life of dogs with heart diseases.

How to Prevent Heart Disease in Dogs?

Although it is not possible to prevent congenital heart diseases in dogs, it is possible to control the symptoms of these diseases and prevent their progression. A number of measures can be taken to prevent heart diseases that may occur due to aging in dogs.

  • Keeping the dog’s weight at an ideal level,
  • Balanced and life-stage-appropriate nutrition,
  • Regular and adequate exercise
  • Not disrupting routine examinations by veterinarians,
  • Timely administration of parasite vaccines,
  • Improving dental and gingival health and

It may be possible to prevent heart diseases in dogs by taking precautions against health problems that they are racially predisposed to.

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