Ventricular Septal Defect
What is Ventricular Septal Defect?
VSD is a congenital condition where there is direct communication between the ventricles of the heart when there should be a ‘wall’. The defect may be large or small with the larger the defect the more heart related problems that will develop. The heart conditions may include congestive heart failure, pulmonary hypertension, and others.
How does my dog get VSD?
This is a congenital condition with a predisposition recognized in the breeds noted below. A puppy is born with this condition and the progression of the disease depends upon the size of the ‘hole’.
How do I know if my dog has VSD?
Many puppies have no symptoms early on. If heart failure develops, there is difficulty breathing, exercise intolerance, fainting, and coughing. A veterinarian should examine a puppy that is not as active as you might expect. The veterinarian may identify a murmur when listening to the heart. Later on there will harsh lung sounds with fluid present. Chest radiographs and ultrasonography should be performed to confirm the diagnosis.
What can I do about VSD?
Treatment options are limited. In those cases where the puppy is not showing signs there are no restrictions needed. In those cases where congestive heart failure has developed, treatment includes a variety of medications, exercise restriction, and diet manipulations. In those cases where heart failure has developed, the prognosis is very grave. There are only a few hospitals around the country that will be able to perform the necessary surgical procedure to close the defect.
Is there anything I can do to prevent my dog from getting VSD?
Prevention is based upon careful breed selection.
Are there certain breeds that get VSD more often?
English bulldog, Brittany spaniel, chow chow, Newfoundland, Samoyed, English springer spaniel, keeshond, Siberian Husky.