Pulmonic stenosis in dogs

Pulmonic stenosis in dogs

What is pulmonic stenosis?

Pulmonic stenosis is an inherited disease that causes partial obstruction of the blood flow in the heart. In most cases, the reason is a malformed pulmonic valve, but the malformation can also be located right above or right below the valve. Regardless of where the pulmonic stenosis is located, the problem will force the heart of the dog to work much harder than normally in order to pump blood to the lungs. In severe cases, the heart will not be able to handle the increased work load and the dog will develop significant symptoms or even die from congestive heart failure.

Breeds at risk for pulmonic stenosis

Pulmonic stenosis is an inherited disease and some breeds are more at risk than others. It should however be noted that pulmonic stenosis can occur in all dog breeds. Pulmonic stenosis is believed to be a polygenic threshold trait, and dogs suffering from this condition should not be used for breeding. Ideally, their parents should also not be used for breeding anymore, and their siblings should only be used if they are cleared by meticulous screening.

The English bulldog and the Mastiff are the two dog breeds most at risk for pulmonic stenosis. Other breeds with an increased risk for this disease are Airedale terrier, Beagle, Boykin spaniel, Chihuahua, Cocker spaniel, Miniature schnauzer, Samoyed, Scottish terrier, West Highland white terrier, and Wire-haired fox terrier.

Pulmonic stenosis symptoms in dogs

In mild cases of pulmonic stenosis the dog will normally not display any symptoms at all since a slight thickening of the pulmonary valve only cause an insignificant obstruction. If the disease progresses into serious thickening of the valve, your dog can start showing symptoms of obstructed blood flow from the right side of the heart. Common symptoms of moderate-to-severe pulmonic senosis in a dog are fainting, exercise intolerance, breathing difficulties, and abdominal swelling. The swelling is either caused by fluid accumulation or an enlarged liver. The obstructed blood flow will cause heart damage that increases as your dog grows older. In some dogs, sudden death will occur.  

When a vet examines a dog with moderate-to-severe pulmonic stenosis he or she will be able to detect abnormal cardiac rhythms.

Pulmonic stenosis treatment for dogs

In dogs with milt-to-moderate cases of pulmonic stenosis, the vet will probably only monitor the dog without giving any further treatment. If clinical signs develop, several types of treatment are available. Surgery can help dogs suffering from moderate-to-severe cases of pulmonic stenosis. The exact technique used by the surgeon will depend on where the stenosis is located in your dog. In many countries, you vet will refer you to an animal hospital or similar since this type of surgery requires a specialized veterinarian and adequate technical equipment. The procedure will be especially dangerous for dogs that have developed atrial fibrillation or congestive heart failure. Such dogs must first be treated medically; no surgery can be carried out until the dog has stabilized.

Regardless of the cause behind the pulmonic stenosis, medicine capable of supporting the heart muscle and decreasing the amount of work that the heart has to carry out can be useful.

If your dog has been diagnoses with pulmonic stenosis, ask your vet for in-dept dietary recommendations.

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