What are the symptoms of mitral valve regurgitation?
How to Diagnose Mitral Valve Disease in Cavalier King Charles Spaniels
The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is a great companion and popular pet. Unfortunately, they're genetically prone to developing a life-threatening heart valve disease. With mitral valve disease (MVD), an important heart valve becomes faulty and doesn't fully close. This lets blood flow backwards into the heart, ultimately causing heart failure. While 80% of Cavaliers develop MVD by age 10,early detection can prolong your dog's life and reduce your dog's distress.
Listen for coughing.Your Cavalier should be seen by the vet if he has persistent coughing (that lasts for several weeks). Coughing can be caused by an enlarged heart that pushes up on the windpipe. It's also a result of fluid on the lungs (also known as pulmonary edema).
- Fluid on the lungs is a symptom of mitral valve disease (MVD). With MVD, blood leaks in the opposite direction so the heart doesn't pump effectively. The blood can start pooling and forcing fluid into the lungs, making your dog cough.
Watch your Cavalier's breathing.Fluid in your dog's lungs can make it harder to breathe and get oxygen. You may notice your Cavalier breathes heavily, even when resting. Count your dogs breaths per minute while he's asleep. If he takes more than 30 breaths a minute, he should be seen by the vet because of the abnormal breathing.
- Difficulty breathing is a sign of congestive heart failure which can be caused by MVD.
Monitor your dog's exercise.If your Cavalier has MVD, he'll get tired easily when playing or exercising. This is because his body has trouble delivering enough oxygen to his muscles, which he needs for vigorous exercise or play. In severe cases, your Cavalier may faint during walks or become alarmingly breathless during other exercise.
- You may also notice that your dog coughs more immediately after exercising. This is one of the earliest symptoms of MVD.
Observe change in appetite.Your Cavalier will find it harder and harder to breathe as MVD progresses. It may become so hard for your dog to breathe, that he stops eating because he doesn't want to take time away from breathing in order to chew and swallow food.
- Your dog may lose weight and appear uncomfortable because he can't find a comfortable position in which to breathe.
Feel your Cavalier's body.When the heart has trouble pumping, the kidneys can retain fluid which gets squeezed into your dog's abdomen. Feel your dog's belly to see if it's swollen or looks like a pot belly.This can be a sign that MVD is causing fluid buildup.
- At first, it might look like your dog has put on weight, but if you can easily feel the ribs and backbone, this means there is little fat under the skin. This is a symptom of MVP, not obesity.
Consider your dog's risk.Cavaliers are already 20 times more likely to develop MVD than other breeds. Male dogs are 50% more likely to develop degenerative heart disease than females.In general, small dogs are more prone to heart valve diseases.
- Commonly affected breeds include the Chihuahua, Boston terrier, miniature poodle, miniature pinscher and fox terriers.
Getting a Medical Diagnosis
Get a physical examination.The vet will carefully watch your Cavalier to observe his body posture and breathing. The vet is trying to see if your dog's breathing is labored or too fast. The vet will also use a stethoscope to listen to the heart's rhythm, rate, and sounds. Specifically, the vet is listening for a heart murmur on the left side of the chest.
- A murmur is always present with MVD so the absence of a murmur rules the condition out at the moment. Your Cavalier will still need to be checked again in the future to see if MVD develops.
Get blood tests.If the vet hears a heart murmur, further tests may be needed, depending on how far the disease has progressed. A full blood panel may be ordered to check if poor blood circulation has damaged organs. It will also be used to check for anemia (a lowered red blood cell count) since severe anemia can actually cause heart murmurs.
- Blood tests will also help in evaluating electrolyte levels. Knowing your Cavalier's electrolyte levels can help your vet prescribe medications for MVD and determine the proper dosage.
Do radiographs.The vet may want to see whether or not your Cavalier's lungs are filled with fluid. Chest radiographs can check for pulmonary edema.Two views will be taken of your dog's chest, one from above and one from the side.
- Radiographs will inform the clinician about where the fluid is within the lungs and whether it's caused by heart disease or another condition like pneumonia.
Get a cardiac ultrasound exam.A cardiac ultrasound exam (heart echo) lets the vet measure the sizes of the different chambers in the heart. The exam also shows how well or poorly the heart is contracting. The clinician can also use color-flow Doppler on the ultrasound to create an image of the size and strength of the backflow of blood. All of this information can help the veterinarian determine the right medications, doses, and outlook for your dog.
- Sometimes an ECG (electrocardiogram) is run if the vet detects an irregular heart rate. This is important to check out since an irregular heart rate can lead to heart attacks.
Follow the veterinarian's management recommendations.Since MVD can't be treated, your veterinarian will want to control symptoms. Your Cavalier might be prescribed medication to slow fluid buildup and help his heart contract. Depending on how progressed your Cavalier's case is, the vet might recommend supplements, changes in diet, or surgery (like valve replacement).
- Regular check ups are important, even if your dog isn't diagnosed with MVD. Since the probability of Cavalier's developing MVD is so high, regular exams can catch it if your dog develops it in the future.
QuestionMy cavalier has just started coughing and is showing weakness in his back legs. What should I do?IlovemycatandtommyhilfigerCommunity AnswerGo to the vet.Thanks!
QuestionMy seven-year-old Cavalier King Charles spaniel has all the symptoms of MVD, where can I find an honest vet?Maroon5wolferCommunity AnswerIt's hard because we don't know where you live, but usually you can just find out by reviews.Thanks!
Video: Mitral Valve Disease in Children
Craig Revel Horwood Calls For A New Strictly Format To Put Rumours Of Fixing To Rest
Would you rent a friend
Reformation Fall 2014 Wedding Collection
I Got In The Best Shape Of My Life And Did My First Fitness Competition At Age 50
WANT les Essentiels de la Vie Kastrup Backpack
How to pitch a blogger
5 things to do at the office the last week of Decemeber
12-Minute Full Body Circuit Workout
Olympia Le-Tan SpringSummer 2019 Collection – Paris Fashion Week
Are You at Risk for Vitamin D Deficiency Everything You Need to Know
11 awesome tattoo ideas inspired by 13 Reasons Why
Setters David Steckel learned business skills from waiting tables
Holidays Without The Crowds