Mitral endocardiosis in dogs
What is mitral endocardiosis?
Mitral endocardiosis a chronic degenerative disease of heart valves (especially mitral valve) ) which deform and become thick
These various modifications cause the sick valve to become watertight when it is closed. On the occasion of each cardiac contraction, a jet of blood rises against the current, which explains the appearance of a heart murmur. It should be noted, however, that heart murmurs may be due to many other diseases than endocardiosis.
In mitral endocardiosis, the heart gradually gets tired, its size and shape change, and heart failure sets in.
Who is affected by endocardiosis?
Endocardiosis is a common disease in canine cardiology. It particularly affects small breeds, males and animals over 6.
Some breeds are particularly affected (Poodle, Cavalier King Charles, Chihuahua, Dachshund, Whippet, Yorkshire,...) but the disease is also very common in common dogs
When to suspect mitral endocardiosis
There is no characteristic sign. The disease usually progresses insidiously for several months or years, without any symptoms. It is often during a routine consultation that the veterinarian finds a heart murmur. This discovery leads, of course, to conducting various examinations and, if necessary, to refer the dog for a specialized consultation aimed at identifying the disease responsible for the murmur and the severity of its consequences on the functioning of the heart.
When the disease evolves, the dog presents: a more or less pronounced fatigue, a persistent cough,... then in the more serious forms: syncopes, respiratory difficulties, pulmonary problems...
In the beginner forms, the lack of specificity of the symptoms explains why the Differential diagnosis of chronic cough is a very delicate situation. Careful exploration of the heart, the entire respiratory system and the use of complementary examinations are almost mandatory.
Pulmonary edema is a frequent complication in advanced forms.
How to diagnose l Endocardial disease?
The first step is a thorough clinical examination of cardiovascular function. It usually reveals the existence of a heart murmur.
The electrocardiogram is decisive if it is necessary to identify disorders of the frequency or the heart rate.
X-rays of the thorax are useful to look for possible pulmonary complications such as ectema
Echocardiography and Doppler are important but technically difficult tests to perform and interpret.
How can endocardiosis be treated?
In the large In most cases, endocardiosis is a chronic, non-painful disease with slow progression over several years.
To date, there is no treatment for endocardiosis but only drugs intended to slow down evolution of heart failure (which inevitably sets in)
It is now proven that some treatments improve the duration and quality of life of dogs, provided that they are regularly administered, although at the time of initial diagnosis the dog is usually rather fit.
If the evolution is globally slow, more sudden degradations are possible. They can be the consequence of a brutal aggravation of the lesions but also of transient modifications induced by a stress, a violent exercise,...
In the event of degradation, an evaluation report must be done quickly and, in the cases more serious, the establishment of adapted intensive care (hospitalization, oxygen,...) can often manage the crisis.
The medical content of this sheet has been written with the kind collaboration of Dr. JPh CORLOUER, veterinarian at CHV Frégis, Head of the cardiology consultation
More information on mitral endocardiosis on the CHV of Frégis .
To read on the same topic: Heart dog and heart failure
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