ENLARGED HEART IN DOGS: DILATED CARDIOMYOPATHY EXPLAINED

A dog fills our hearts with joy and asks for nothing in return. However, we are the ones who should take care of its heart, especially in case there is something wrong with it. Since a dog cannot describe its symptoms, only its owner can observe it and try to identify what is not right or what has changed in its behavior.

When it comes to heart diseases, enlarged heart in dogs is among the most possible conditions that may occur. An informed dog owner can easily learn to recognize the occurrence of dilated cardiomyopathy in his or her dog and act in a timely manner before the affection aggravates or evolves in any way.
As heart is for humans, so is for dogs. It is the most important muscle from their bodies, the core that keeps them alive and which can become life threatening if it starts malfunctioning. Heart diseases in dogs are most often caused by the malfunction of the valve or the heart muscle, also called myocardium.
If your dog suffers from a heart disease, its body retains more salt than needed and more water as well. This affection is also called hydro-saline retention, characterized by situations when fluid can accumulate in a dog’s lungs or abdomen resulting in shortness of breath and abdominal pain. If a pooch’s heart does not work like a well-oiled engine, then its blood circulation is slowed down and leads to fatigue, weakness and other symptoms.
Alike humans, the types of heart diseases in dogs can be hereditary or they can occur at some point in their lives. Most often, a heart disease occurs because of different reasons, affecting older dogs preponderantly. Our article on how to take care of senior dogs can help you a lot, so check it out.
There are 2 types of heart diseases in dogs that are most met. The first type is when a dog’s heart valves lose their ability to properly close, causing abnormal blood flow. The second type manifests when a dog’s heart muscles become thin and weak, being unable to sustain its function in a normal way. These are general affections that include the case when a dog’s heart is enlarged.
Dilated cardiomyopathy is a cardiovascular disease, potentially fatal, characterized by the dilatation of the heart, both of its left and right sides. However, the coronary vessels and atrioventricular valves do not show changes, but there is a myocardial dysfunction present mainly in the systole. In other words, if your dog has a big heart in the most literally way possible, that is rather a bad thing than a positive one. A dog with such affection has a bigger heart and as it gets even bigger, its heart muscles get thinner and consequently its heart gets weaker.
Therefore, its heart has a weaker ability to push the blood throughout its body.
According to a study made by specialists, this type of heart disease occurs in dogs aged between 4 and 11 years. They are mostly males than females and they belong to dog breeds such as Doberman, Boxer, German Dog, Afghan and Cocker, among others. Their respiratory, excretory and circulatory systems started to malfunction, thus determining veterinarians to take further tests and establish a correct diagnose, that was dilated cardiomyopathy.
Besides the clinical exam, there are numerous tests that must be done in order to establish for sure the affection that generates the symptoms present in certain dogs that may or may not be predisposed to developing heart diseases.

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