CARDIAC (hearts)

A Chronic Canine Disease – What You Should Know Today…

“Seemingly healthy dogs can have heart murmurs indicative of cardiac disease. Owners don’t even realize there’s a problem until their veterinarian picks up the presence of a murmur during an exam. While cats and puppies can have innocent murmurs, virtually all murmurs in adult dogs indicate structural heart disease.” [read more on Mercola Healthy Pets]

Have you holtered a puppy? Submit your results [HERE] to help compile data for the breed. Help us better understand how GSD IVA is affecting the Shiloh Shepherd.

The following heart ailments have been reported in Shiloh Shepherds:

Dilated Cardiomyopathy (DCM) is one of the most common heart diseases in dogs. DCM most commonly affects the left side of the heart. The myocardium (myo- muscle; cardium or cardio- heart) cannot pump blood out of the left side effectively, blood begins to back up within the left side of the heart and also in the pulmonary veins that supply the left side of the heart with blood. This process enlarges the heart to try to compensate for the ineffective pumping.

Mitral Valve Defect – Mitral Valve Defect (MVD) is any defect in the valve that separates the left atrium and the left ventricle.  Depending on the defect, the condition can range from mild to severe.

Patent ductus arteriosis (PDA) is the second most common congenital heart defect of dogs.  The ductus arteriosis is a blood vessel that connects the aorta and the pulmonary artery in a fetus.  Shortly after birth this blood vessel should close.  When the ductus arteriosis is “patent,” this means it remains open after birth.  This “leak” causes the left ventricle to have to work harder to circulate the blood to the circulatory system.  If the condition is caught early and treated with closure of the PDA most puppies with this condition can live a normal life.

SubAortic Stenosis (SAS) is a narrowing (stenosis) of the area underneath, the aortic valve, that causes some degree of obstruction or blockage of the blood flow through the heart. The narrowing can be mild, moderate, or severe; if moderate or severe, it can force the heart to work harder and potentially be harmful to the heart’s health.

Subaortic stenosis is a problem that affects dogs and is rare in cats. It most commonly occurs in large-breed dogs. Subaortic stenosis appears to be genetic in origin; the first signs of it may be present at birth (moderate or severe cases) or may appear in the first year of life (usually milder cases).

Tricuspid Valve Dysplasia (TVD) –  The atrioventricular (AV) valves in the heart ensure that the blood flows in the correct direction inside the heart, from the atria to the ventricles, when the heart beats. When the AV valve in the right side of the heart -the tricuspid valve- is malformed at birth (called dysplasia of the valve), blood flow through the heart is less efficient: with each heartbeat, a portion of the blood that is meant to travel in the normal direction instead spills backward to where it just came from.  This process, called tricuspid valve insufficiency or tricuspid valve regurgitation, requires the heart to work harder to overcome this inefficiency.

GSD Inherited Ventricular Arrhythmias (GSD/IVA)

The window of vulnerability for this condition is between 3-18 months of age, with an average age of 6-7 months.  If an affected animal lives beyond 24 months of age, their arrhythmias usually become less severe and never progress into tachycardia, which could result in sudden death.  Due to this window, Holter monitoring should be performed on dogs under a year of age in order to determine if they are affected.  If it is done on dogs over two years of age, the condition will likely not be detected.  An animal who has a milder arrhythmia will not suffer sudden death and can appear normal to all outward appearances, and could still pass their OFA heart clearances, yet still be affected and pass it on to their offspring. [READ MORE HERE]