What is Cardiomyopathy?
There are two principle types of Cardiomyopathy seen in dogs-dilated or hypertrophic. The dilated version is much more common and is the result of changes to the heart muscle whereby it becomes thin, stretched, dilated, and less functional. The heart becomes a very inefficient pump and leads to heart failure. On the other hand, hyypertrophic cardiomyopathy leads to a thickening of the heart muscle and as in dilated cardiomyopathy, the heart is an inefficient pump and heart failure ensues.
How does my dog get Cardiomyopathy?
It is highly suggested that cardiomyopathy is a heritable condition with a large number of breeds affected. Dobermans and Boxers are at greatest risk of developing cardiomyopathy.
How do I know if my dog has Cardiomyopathy?
The first noticeable changes will include an increased respirtory rate, difficulty breathing, and coughing. Weight loss, weakness, lethargy, loss of appetite are the next signs noted. Later, abdominal distention, fainting, and acute death may be noted. In rare cases, dogs are asymptomatic at first diagnosis. Your veterinarian will be able to make this diagnosis for you. A thorough examination supplemented with chest radiographs, blood tests, electrocardiographs, and ultrasound are all needed to confirm the diagnosis.
What can I do about Cardiomyopathy?
Once diagnosed, treatment is directed at slowing down the progression of the inevitable heart failure. Medications, exercise and diet are all part of the treatment program. Follow up evaluations including radiographs and EKGs will be needed to assess the success in treatment.
Is there anything I can do to prevent my dog from getting Cardiomyopathy?
There is nothing that can be done to prevent cardiomyopathy. Careful breed selection may decrease the likelihood of developing cardiomyopathy
Are there certain breeds that get Cardiomyopathy more often?
Doberman pinschers, Boxers, Scottish deerhound, Great Dane, Irish Wolfhound, Cocker spaniel, Airedale, Newfoundland, Old English sheepdog, Standard Poodle, are some of the breeds affected.