Congestive Heart Failure (CHF) as a Result
of Mitral Valve Disease (MVD)
Did you know that canine heart disease is just as dangerous in dogs as it is in people?
HOW DOES THE HEART WORK?
The heart is one of the most miraculous “machines” that works like a pump and beats
thousands of times per day.
• The heart is a combination of 2 pumps, and each pump has 2 chambers.
• The 2 pumps are divided by Left and Right sides.
• The blood enters the right side and is then pumped to the lungs, where the blood is oxygenated.
• The oxygen rich blood then flows into the left side of the heart, and from there it is pumped out into the body’s various organs.
WHAT IS MVD?
MVD is the most common cause of CHF in dogs.
MVD is a degenerative disease that damages heart valve leaflets. This damage prevents heart valves
from closing properly, allowing blood to leak backward into the atrium. This leakage eventually impairs
heart function and circulation, leading to CHF.
Disease of the heart valves is more common in male dogs than females. This form of heart disease
usually occurs in small- to medium-size dogs.
DON’T LOSE HOPE
With early diagnosis and appropriate treatment and management, you increase your dog's opportunity to live a happier,
healthier and longer life.
WHAT ARE THE CAUSES OF HEART DISEASE?
There are several ways your dog can be affected by heart disease:
Acquired Heart Disease
• Accounts for 95% of all heart conditions
• Disease that develops during the course of your dog's life
• There are two principal causes of acquired heart disease:
- Mitral Valve Disease (MVD)
- Dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM)
• Heart problems that your dog is born with will usually be diagnosed when your dog is still a puppy
• Account for a very small percentage of the diagnosed heart-related problems
SIGNS OF CHF
Symptoms of atrioventricular valvular insufficiency (MVD)or dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) in the early stages are not readily observable. This phase can last for months or years. However, as the heart deteriorates and cardiac output decreases over time, MVD and DCM ultimately lead to congestive heart failure (CHF) in dogs.
Some common clinical signs of CHF that may appear as MVD or DCM progresses include:
• Breathing- Difficulty breathing
- Increased heart rate
- Shortness of breath
• Behavioural changes
- Tires easily
• Exercise intolerance
- Hesitates to go for walks
• Decreased appetite and weight loss
• Weakness and syncope (fainting)
• Difficulty sleeping
• Restlessness, especially at night
When clinical signs of CHF appear, immediate therapeutic intervention is indicated.
There is no cure for CHF and surgical intervention is rarely practical in dogs, so veterinarians focus on improving clinical symptoms and prolonging life.