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Congenital Heart Disease in Dogs

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Breed Predispositions for Congenital Heart Defects

 

Atrial septal defects

Samoyed

 

Ventricular septal defects

Bulldog

Aortic and subaortic stenosis

Newfoundland, Golden Retriever, German Shepherd, Rottweiler, Boxer, German Shorthaired Pointer, Samoyed

 

Tricuspid dysplasia

Labrador Retriever, Great Dane, Weimaraner, German Shepherd Dog

Mitral dysplasia

Great Dane, German Shepherd Dog, Bull Terrier

Patent ductus arteriosus

Poodle, Pomeranian, Collie, Shetland Sheepdog, German Shepherd Dog, Cocker Spaniel, English Springer Spaniel

 

Pulmonic stenosis

Beagle, Labrador Retriever, Cocker Spaniel, Schnauzer, Newfoundland, Rottweiler

 

Tetralogy of Fallot

Keeshond, English Bulldog, Miniature Poodle, Miniature Schnauzer

 

It is important to identify affected individuals when treatment is most likely to be successful and before the dog is used for breeding. The best time to screen puppies for congenital heart defects is when they are 6 to 8 weeks of age, before being released to their new homes. Screening is done by carefully listening for murmurs with a stethoscope over the four valve areas. The examination is best performed by a veterinarian who is experienced in recognizing heart murmurs. Murmurs heard at this age may not be associated with disease; some will disappear as the pup matures. If the murmur is present at 16 weeks, however, the puppy should be screened using cardiac ultrasound.

OFA maintains a cardiac registry to gather data on congenital heart defects. Dogs are screened at 12 months of age or later by a board-certified veterinary cardiologist, and if they are found to be unaffected, they are issued a certificate and a registration number. For bloodlines with an increased incidence of congenital heart defects, it is highly desirable to seek OFA certification before selecting breeding animals.

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WebMD Veterinary Reference from "Dog Owner's Home Veterinary Handbook"

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