There are many types of congenital heart disease that can occur in both cats and dogs. However, some of the most common defects include dysplasia, septal defects and stenosis. Two other common congenital heart diseases are known as ductus arteriosus and tetralogy fallot.
How Congenital Heart Disease Affects Your Pet
The prognosis for most animals with congenital heart diseases is quite bleak. In fact, most of them die within about the first year of their lives. Dogs and cats that have mild to moderate conditions may live; however, they often experience such symptoms as fainting, low tolerance to exercise and stunted growth.
Common Symptoms of Congenital Heart Disease
The symptoms of congenital heart disease may vary depending on what part of the heart is affected and in many cases, there are no visible warning signs at all. With that said, it is a smart idea to have your veterinarian check your pet's heart regularly. Additionally, some of these symptoms are common to other illnesses as well; thus, you must take your pet to a vet for a definitive diagnosis. Common Symptoms of Congenital Heart Disease in Pets: Swelling of the Abdomen, Swelling of the Limbs, Rapid or Labored Breathing, Tires Easily, Lethargy, Generalized Weakness, Coughing, Fainting, Stunted Growth and Irregular Heart Beats/Heart Murmurs.
Treatments for Congenital Heart Disease
Pets with minor heart defects usually do not need surgery and have an excellent prognosis. However, those with moderate to severe defects typically do require surgery. Animals with ductus arteriosus often benefit from various surgical procedures. Septal defects can be surgically repaired as well. Nevertheless, this typically requires open-heart surgery and a cardopulmonary bypass, which offers varying success rates. It is essential to note that some forms of heart disease have a bleak prognosis, with or without surgery.
Although congenital heart disease can occur in almost any breed of dog or cat, there are some breeds that are more prone to the condition than others. If you have a dog or cat that is one of the following breeds, take extra care to notice any of the above warning signs of heart disease. Animals Most Vulnerable to Congenital Heart Disease; Felines: Persians, Maine Coons, Ragdolls, British and American Shorthairs. Canines: Golden and Labrador Retievers, Cocker and English Springer Spaniels, Bulldogs, English Bulldogs and Bull Terriers, Poodles and Schnauzers, Keeshonds and Samoyeds, Collies and Shetland Sheepdogs, German Shepherds and Rottweilers, Boxers and Beagles, German Shorthaired Pointers and Weimaraners, Great Danes and Newfoundlands and Beagles and Pomeranians.
When adding a dog or cat to your family you want to make sure your pet is happy, healthy and protected. During its lifetime your pet is exposed to many illnesses and diseases and some breeds are affected by a congenital disease which is a condition existing at birth. At these moments when your pet is ill or maybe needs surgery, you want to be protected for the unexpected and high veterinarian costs.