Like aortic stenosis in humans, aortic stenosis in dogs is a medical term used to define an inheritable cardiovascular condition in which the aortic valve of the affected patient is too narrow to allow for proper blood flow from the left ventricle of the heart to the rest of the body via the aorta.
Aortic Stenosis broke down by its terms:
Aortic: refers to the aortic valve that connects the heart’s left ventricle to the aorta; the main artery supplies blood from your dog’s heart to the remainder of the body.
Stenosis: A term used to describe the abnormal narrowing of a passage in the body.
As a result of this condition, your dog may be one of the lucky ones in which they do not experience any “outward” symptoms such as:
- Chest pain
- Shortness of breath
- Difficulty catching one’s breath, particularly after exercising
- Fatigue and weakness
- Fainting and lightheadedness
And in some cases, affected dogs could suffer from sudden death!
The excellent news is…
This disease can be easily detected through a routine “wellness” examination, during which your veterinarian will look for clinical signs that might indicate that your dog is suffering from aortic stenosis. These clinical signs might include:
- Stunted growth.
- and a classical systolic murmur that most if not all dogs suffering from aortic stenosis will exhibit.
Then once a murmur is detected, your veterinarian may also decide to order chest x-rays and an EKG (or Doppler echocardiography) to understand better how severe the stenosis is in the affected patient. These tests may also indicate how hard the heart is being forced to work due to the stenosis, reflected by the “size” of the affected dog’s seat and the thickness of the affected heart muscle walls.
Regardless of how “severe” the patient’s case may be, there is little one can do to treat aortic stenosis in dogs other than referring these cases to a specialist like a veterinary cardiologist who may or may not recommend open-heart surgery to correct this disease.
The recommended course of treatment for this condition can be risky and expensive. Therefore, in most cases where this disease is diagnosed, most veterinarians advise dogs to minimize exercise or avoid it altogether. Instead, they suggest maintaining an “exercise intolerance” approach and using beta-blocking medications. These medications help reduce your dog’s blood pressure levels, subsequently alleviating pressure on their heart.
Additionally you’ll want to be sure to try to watch what these dogs eat to maintain a healthy weight despite the fact that they are now having their exercise levels minimized.
Now at this point…
We do like to point out that we here at IndulgeYourPet are not medical professionals, and we certainly not veterinarians; we’re just a bunch of folks who care about animals and like to try and shed light on some of the most common medical conditions that could affect the pets that we love.
We do this…
Because we feel that it’s essential for any pet owner and potential pet owner to understand that owning a pet is a HUGE responsibility. A responsibility that you need to understand that is going to last the lifetime of your animal. This is why we here at IndulgeYourPet recommend to anyone considering adopting an animal to take a moment and explore the cost of purchasing a Pet Insurance policy so that if their loved one does end up suffering from a medical condition like aortic stenosis. If you need to “finance” a medical condition that is likely to last the entire life of your animal, you won’t have to bear that cost alone.
This is particularly true…
If you plan on adopting a more giant dog such as a:
- German Shepherd
- Golden retriever
Or any other large dog breed with a higher propensity to suffer from this disease.