Cardiomyopathy is a term used to describe a disease that affects the heart. When the heart becomes diseased, it changes shape and subsequently, it does not pump blood as well as it should.
The most common type of cardiomyopathy that affects dogs is called Dilated Cardiomyopathy (DCM). As the name suggests, the heart chambers become dilated, with the muscular walls of the ventricles becoming thin. Although there are other types of cardiomyopathy that can affect dogs, here I will only discuss DCM.
When the heart is not able to pump blood effectively, over time the concern is that dogs will go into heart failure.Erin Coomer - Veterinarian (July 2013)
Sometimes we unfortunately do not know why dogs develop DCM.
DCM may result secondarily to some previous insult to the heart (be it infection, inflammation, toxicity, trauma, cancer, etc).
However, certain breeds can be more commonly diagnosed with DCM. These include:
- Cocker Spaniels
Large breed dogs suffer from...
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- Weight loss
- Muscle wasting
- Exercise intolerance
Your Vet will perform a thorough physical examination obviously paying particular attention to examining the heart and lungs.
Your Vet will likely recommend a chest xray, and ECG (rhythm strip) and/or an ultrasound of the heart (called an echocardiogram).
Blood and urine tests are also recommended
to help evaluate the health of your dog...
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