We can’t avoid diseases as living things, as our systems tend to react to certain conditions. The mitral valve disease in dogs is what we’ll discuss in the article.
We’ll look into the causes, symptoms, treatments, prevention, etc. Read on!
What is Mitral Valve Disease?
In the heart, there are four chambers. The upper chambers are the atria (right and left atriums), whereas the lower chambers are known as ventricles.
Also, the heart has two sides, which are the left and right sides. However, to prevent blood from flowing backward, each chamber of the heart includes a one-way valve.
The mitral valve is the valve that connects the left atrium to the left ventricle.
Causes of Mitral Valve Disease in Dogs
Research hasn’t found the main cause of mitral valve disease in dogs. But several cases have been outlined.
Rheumatic heart disease is one of the most common causes of mitral valve stenosis. This is the point at which an infection causes the heart to become inflamed.
It can cause the flaps of the mitral valve to become stiff and thick over time.
Other causes of mitral valve insufficiency include ruptured chordae tendineae, a disorder in which the fibrous cords that keep the valve leaflets in place break, and endocarditis, a type of heart valve infection.
Endocarditis can be caused by blood-borne infections or, more usually, by chronic oral infections.
Symptoms of Mitral Valve Disease in Dogs
The symptoms of mitral valve regurgitation vary every time. This is because the mitral valve experiences different problems.
However, the main symptoms of mitral valve disease in dogs include:
- Breath shortness.
- Chest pain.
How to Diagnose Mitral Valve Disease
If your vet detects abnormal breathing in your dog, they will advise you to take some tests to determine the cause of the murmur.
At this point, an echocardiogram is needed. It is the process where a veterinary cardiologist performs an ultrasound of the heart.
This step is essential because it will find out the cause of the heart murmur. Your vet may also recommend a chest x-ray because it checks for any fluid in the lungs and checks the heart’s size.
Importance of the Echocardiogram Test Repitition
The echocardiogram or x-ray test is essential because there are different stages of congestive heart failure.
Below is a list of the stages;
- Stage A: The dog is at high risk of getting heart disease.
- Stage B1: There is a sound of murmur but no sign of heart failure and heart enlargement.
- Stage B2: There is a sound of murmur but no sign of heart failure. But there is a sign of heart enlargement.
- Stage C: The heart disease has become worse, and the symptoms are evident.
- Stage D: The last stage of heart disease. A stage where the dog is not responding to treatment.
Treatment of Mitral Valve Disease in Dogs
If your dog’s mitral valve case is severe, three treatments may fix the condition.
If therapy is required, your doctor may begin by administering drugs to your dog. There are no drugs that can correct your dog’s mitral valve’s structural abnormalities.
Some medications help alleviate the symptoms or keep them from worsening.
Among these drugs are;
- Anticoagulants: These drugs thin your blood flow.
- Antiarrhythmics: They treat aberrant heart rhythms.
- Beta-blockers: They slow your heart rate.
- Diuretics: They reduce fluid accumulation in your lungs.
Your doctor may need to perform medical procedures in some circumstances. In the instance of mitral valve stenosis, for example, your doctor may be able to open the valve with a balloon in a technique known as balloon valvuloplasty.
Surgery may be required in extreme situations of mitral valve disease in dogs. Your doctor may be able to fix your dog’s existing mitral valve surgically for it to operate correctly.
If that isn’t an option, you may need to have your dog’s mitral valve replaced. The replacement could be organic or mechanical.