Cardiovascular and circulatory problems in dogs

Cardiovascular and circulatory problems in dogs

The cardiovascular and circulatory systems of a dog are extremely intricate, and can naturally be affected by a wide range of health problems. Dogs are for instance subjected to heart defects, heart disease, anemia, and platelet disorders.

Congenital heart defects in dogs

Congenital heart defects in dogs are abnormalities in the structure of the heart and/or the great vessels of the dog. Congenital heart defects are present at birth, and can be hereditary as well as cause by environmental factors. Since a lot of heart defects in dogs are hereditary, responsible breeding is very important to keep the number of dogs with heart defects down. It is always as good idea to have both dogs carefully screened by a veterinary expert prior to breeding, and the health history of their ancestors should also ideally be well documented.

A majority of the heart defects that plague dogs obstruct the blood flow in the heart of the dog or in the vessels around the heart. Heart defects can also make the blow flow through the heart in an abnormal way or disturb the normal heart rhythm.

Some dog breeds are much more prone to certain types of heart defects than others. Newfoundlands, Samoyeds, Golden Retrivers, Boxers, German Shepherd Dogs, Rottweilers, and Bulldogs are for instance more prone to aortic stenosis than other breeds, while pulmonic stenosis is most commonly occurring in Bulldogs, Terriers, Chihuahuas, Miniature Schnauzers, Samoyeds, Beagles, Mastiffs, Bullmastiffs, and Keeshonds. Keeshonds and Bulldogs are also predisposed to tetralogy of fallot, which is a combination of four different defects. Toy and miniature Poodles, Bichon Frises, Pomeranians, and Malteses are at high risk for another type of heart defect: patent ductus arteriosus.

Heart disease in dogs

Heart disease in dogs can be brought on by a wide range of reasons, including bacterial infections, viruses, and parasites. Some breeds are more susceptible to degenerative heart disease than others, and Cavalier King Charles Spaniels are for instance very prone to a heart disease called degenerative mitral valve disease. Large dog breeds such as Great Danes and Doberman dogs are on the other hand prone on developing dilated cardiomyopathy, a heart muscle disease. Sick sinus syndrome is a heart disease most commonly seen in female Miniature Schnauzers where causes the dog to suddenly faint.


Anemia (also spelled anæmia) is a condition where the dog suffers from a deficiency of red blood cells and/or haemoglobin. Without sufficient amounts of red blood cells and haemoglobin, the blood can not transport sufficient amounts of oxygen to the various parts of the dog’s body. Dogs can for instance develop anemia if their red blood cell production is too low, e.g. due to iron deficiency. Anemia can also be caused by excessive blood cell destruction, which is the case in immune-mediated hemolytic anemia where the dog’s own immune system attacks the blood cells. When a dug sustains sever trauma and looses a lot of blood, the result can naturally also be anemia. Low-volume blood loss that is allowed to go on for a longer period of time is another reason behind anemia in dogs.

Platelets disorder in dogs

Platelets are cell fragments necessary for proper formation of blood clots. Platelets are also known as thrombocytes. When a dog develops a platelet disorder that causes dysfunctional platelets or low levels of platelets, its blood will not be able to clot as it should, which can lead to anything from unusual bruising to severe blood loss. An abnormally high level of platelets is normally asymptomatic, but it may increase the risk for thrombosis (the formation of a clot inside a blood vessel). Von Willebrand disease and Thrombocytopenia are two examples of conditions which can lead to excessive bleeding, while Thrombocytosis is a condition where the dog has an excess of platelets.

Cardiovascular and circulatory problems in dogs: (click for more info)
Aortic stenosis in dogs
Congestive heart failure in dogs
Degenerative mitral valve disease in dogs
Dilated cardiomyopathy in dogs
Heart valve dysplasia in dogs
Hemolytic anemia in dogs
Patent ductus arteriosus in dogs
Pericardial effusion in dogs
Pulmonary hypertension in dogs
Pulmonic stenosis in dogs
Thrombocytopenia in dogs
Ventricular septal defect in dogs
Atrial septal defect in dogs
Tetralogy of Fallot in dogs
Von Willebrand disease in dogs