If Only A Plumber Could Help
What is Chronic Degenerative Valve Disease?
Chronic degenerative valve disease (CVD) is a condition that affects dogs’ mitral heart valve. This degeneration progresses slowly and eventually causes the blood to move in the wrong direction through the valve, often heard through a stethoscope as a ‘heart murmur.’
Over time, the thickening of the valve and subsequent leaking lead to an enlarged heart and weakened heart muscles. If the heart can no longer function with abnormal blood flow, this results in congestive heart failure.
What causes heart valve problems in dogs?
Each side of the heart has two chambers, an upper atrium and a lower ventricle, and two valves, the tricuspid on the right and the mitral on the left. These valves act as one-way gates, allowing blood to flow from the upper atrium to the lower ventricle and preventing blood from flowing back into the atrium when the ventricle pumps.
Small breed dogs and senior canines are more prone to developing chronic degenerative valve disease, with as much as 75% of small breed dogs showing evidence of CVD by seven years old.
As the disease progresses, the goal is to help your pet maintain a good quality of life and to keep your pet out of heart failure without harming the kidneys.
What are the symptoms of a dog with heart problems?
A dog suffering from chronic degenerative valve disease may exhibit several symptoms, although these symptoms may also indicate other conditions.
Not every dog will develop all the following symptoms, and many will display multiple signs. It is essential to notify your vet if you notice any of these symptoms so that your dog can be examined with a determination of the underlying cause.
• Rapid, shallow breathing during rest or sleep
• Restlessness or agitation while sleeping
• Change in usual sleeping positions
• Coughing or gagging
• Less appetite
• Weight loss
• Lethargic or depressed
• Reduced ability to exercise
• Collapse or fainting
• Distended belly
Remembering Our Little Hearts That Loved Life
What is the treatment for chronic degenerative valve disease in dogs?
The vet may prescribe medication to treat heart failure if your dog has an enlarged heart and/or high blood pressure. Please note that your companion will be on these medications throughout their life, although the doses and frequency of administration may change over time.
As the disease progresses, the goal is to help your dog maintain a good quality of life and to keep her out of heart failure without harming the kidneys. There’s no cure for CVD, but it can be managed inexpensively with generic medication and a controlled diet.
How long can a dog live with chronic degenerative valve disease?
Most dogs with asymptomatic CVD can live 2 to 5 years or longer without developing any clinical signs of heart failure. After diagnosis, dogs typically live for 1 to 2 years with appropriate treatment and close monitoring.
Our Small Pack with Big Hopes for Life
Up to ninety-two percent of small ranch residents are diagnosed with heart disease, ranging from mild to severe. Our promise to every resident, regardless of disease stage, is to provide medical treatment for the remainder of the life journey. We believe promises are meant to be kept, and an old dog’s life is as valuable as a younger one, even if it’s only for one more day of experiencing joy.
Living Grace Canine Ranch: The Journey Home
A 501 (c) (3) organization and sanctuary dedicated to saving, serving, and valuing the lives of Texas adoption-disadvantaged senior dogs. To never walk life alone, we believe a senior dog’s life is worthy of love, wellness, and human companionship. We hope you feel the same.
All proceeds from the Journey Home Book fund our senior residents’ pharmacy program. Thank you for your consideration and blessings of our work.
Join us for a visual display of medically, physically, and emotionally challenged Texas seniors discovering Where Love Resides.