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Dogs Heart Disease

Dogs Heart Disease


Heart Disease in Dogs

The canine heart is a hard-working organ, and is divided anatomically into left and right sides; valves allow for blood flow through the heart. The left atrium, the right atrium, the left ventricle, and the right ventricle comprise the four heart chambers. The external heart “sac” is designated the pericardium, and the myocardium is the actual muscle of the heart. The endocardium is the inner layer of cells in the heart. Heart disease, or cardiac disease, can affect any of these components.

“Dirty” blood (carrying carbon dioxide from organs, tissues, and cells) enters the right atrium through large vena cavae veins and flows to the right ventricle via the tricuspid valve. It travels through the pulmonary artery (via the pulmonary valve) to the lungs to collect oxygen and eliminate carbon dioxide and re-enters the left atrium through the pulmonary vein. The mitral valve ferries the oxygen-rich blood to the left ventricle, and the aorta (entering through the aortic valve) carries “clean” oxygen-rich blood to the remainder of the body.

Heart disease, or cardiac disease, can be a devastating clinical condition in companion animals. Early recognition and treatment can facilitate appropriate clinical management and a long life.

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