Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Dog Health - Heart & Blood Disorders

Both heart and blood disorders can be serious and interfere with the blood’s ability to deliver nutrients and oxygen to cells of body. As with any dog ‘pit bulls’ should be checked for problems with congenital heart disease and blood disorders.

Heart Murmur

Particular sound made by dysfunctional heart valves heard with a stethoscope.

Valvular Diseases

Endocarditis – This is a bacterial infection that affects young to middle aged large breed dogs with no heart disease history.

Congenital Aortic Stenosis – This disorder is the result of a narrowing of the outflow channel between the aorta and the left ventricle.

Congenital Pulmonic Valve Stenosis – Typically caused by a malformed pulmonary valve that causes a partial obstruction of the normal blood flow to the lungs.

Canine Dilated Cardiomyopathy – The prevention of a properly pumping heart due to a flaccidity of the heart muscle that results in congestive heart failure.

Pericardial Disease

When diseased the protective sac surrounding the heart and major vessels known as the pericardium restricts ventricles and can become life threatening. Vomiting and labored breathing may alert to the disease though there isn’t always symptoms present. The displaced or muffled sounds of the heart can be detected through a stethoscope.

Patent Ductus Arteriosis

This birth defect is the second most common congenital heart defect. An opening that connects the aorta to the pulmonary artery should close once a puppy is born. Should this remain opened it will cause too much blood to pass into the lungs.

Within a year of diagnosis approximately 60% of the dogs afflicted will die. However if this disorder is caught early enough surgery can be performed allowing the dog to lead a normal life. Symptoms to watch for are coughing, difficulty breathing, lethargy and intolerance to exercise. 

von Willebrand’s Disease

Potentially life threatening genetic disorder that causes excessive bleeding can sometimes be seen in ‘pit bulls’. Often the first signs of a problem are seen during dew claw removal and ear cropping. There are three types of this disease. The first type is fatal and most often Scotties are affected. The third type is most common and though not proven its thought to be the most predominant type that affects ‘pit bulls’. Some carriers don’t suffer from the disease so it’s important especially in potential breeders to have blood tests done. These tests determine the range of genetic tendency. Puppies as young as seven weeks can be tested.


Disclaimer – In no way am I claiming to be an expert on these topics. These are only informational articles written to help dog owners. It’s recommended that you always do your own research and consult with your veterinarian for more detailed information. (01-26-13)

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