Enlarged Heart in Dogs: Explanation & Tips from a Vet

vet examining dog's heart
Reading Time: 6 minutes

Severity:

Mild to severe, depending on the underlying condition

Table of Content

Key points

  • Requires diagnosis by a veterinarian.
  • Treatable by a veterinarian.
  • Not transmissible to other animals or humans.
  • Usually a lifelong condition.
  • Prevention is possible for some causes.
  • Diagnosis may require a physical examination, lab tests, x-rays, ECG, and echocardiography. 

Common in:

Symptoms and types:

Dogs with an enlarged heart are at an increased risk of sudden death (a “heart attack”) and so may pass away at home.

Understanding the diagnostics

Blood tests

X-rays

Ultrasound (echocardiography)

Learning about the causes

Myxomatous Mitral Valve Disease (MMVD)

Dilated Cardiomyopathy (DCM)

Congenital Heart Conditions

Heartworm

There are no effective home remedies to treat heart disease – you must see a veterinarian and follow their advice.

Best treatment options

Pimobendan (Vetmedin®)

Diuretics

ACE inhibitors

Heartworm treatment

Surgery

Home remedies and their effectiveness

When to see a vet

FAQ

Ruth graduated from Cambridge in 2014 and has worked as a small animal GP vet ever since. She is particularly interested in internal medicine, as it combines her love of problem-solving and her somewhat geeky love of knowledge, and has completed her certificate in Small Animal Medicine. She loves animals of all species but is particularly fond of cats.

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