Cardiomyopathy In Dogs

Overview of Cardiomyopathy

Cardiomyopathy is any disease(s) of the heart muscles which can strike any dog.

Types of Cardiomyopathy

Diseases of this type mainly fall into three categories:

1.Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy

2.Dilated Cardiomyopathy

3.Restrictive Cardiomyopathy

All of the abovementioned conditions are idiopathic, which means that no specific reasons are generally not found in these cases.

The most common type of Cardiomyopathy is Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy. This is an inherited condition, and the exact way the disease occurs is unknown. The heart muscle thickens up with normal and abnormal cells. The thickened muscles cannot relax and contract quickly and reduce the amount of blood the heart can handle. Heart failure can happen as the natural working of the heart gets hampered.

Dilated Cardiomyopathy is referred as the heart’s inability to contract easily. Decreased in contraction means that the heart cannot pump enough blood to the body. This condition is relatively widespread in the various breed of dog. Mostly affected breeds are the large ones, especially the older massive breeds.

Restrictive Cardiomyopathy is relatively rare and is not not very clear to the experts. This condition leads to the encroaching of the heart muscles, and usually severely limiting the outflow of blood in the body.

Signs, Symptoms, and Identification

The signs and symptoms of Canine Cardiomyopathy may vary from dog to dog. In many of the cases, Dilated Cardiomyopathy or DC can have symptoms such as sudden collapse, frequent weakness, even sudden death. These beforementioned signs are the result of a sudden change of the electrical conduction of the heart. Some dogs may also have congestive heart failure in the future.

In some cases, sudden death may not happen. Instead, there will be build up in parts like in the ascites, with weaknesses, fluid in the chest cavity, or intolerance towards exercise. In certain breeds, this condition can be completely asymptomatic. The opposite can also happen in some canines.

Vets in many cases can identify these signs and symptoms. In many cases, the vet can diagnose a heart murmur, but often the disease can get undiagnosed because of its quiet nature.


It generally happens through an X-ray examination. EKG’s may not diagnose the damages or the condition of the heart. In many of the cases, cardio ultrasonography is done to check the physical changes in the heart.

Most Affected Canines

Boxers, Newfoundlands, German shepherds, St. Bernards, Labrador Retrievers, and Great Danes are often the victims of this disease.


It involves administrating medications to the dogs to control the signs of congestive heart failures or cardiac enlargement while increasing heart’s ability to pump ou blood adequately. A dog with this condition may get well with the combination of drugs such as digoxin, furosemide, calcium blockers, beta blockers, enalapril, and some other nutritional supplements. DiamondBack Drugs offers a variety of drugs to treat this condition.


Most of the causes of this condition are hereditary, so little we can do to prevent this disease. The breeders will have to remove the dogs who are suffering from this condition from the healthy ones to safeguard the breed(s).

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