Can Canine Heart Disease Be Acquired? And how can it be spotted?

Can Canine Heart Disease Be Acquired?

Most cases of canine heart disease are acquired over time through inherited conditions or environmental factors such as obesity and high-stress situations.

Heart disease is a leading cause of death in dogs. More than 10% of pets have some cardiovascular disease. While this may seem like a reason for alarm, keep in mind that most cases of canine heart disease are inherited conditions there are still some types of canine heart disease that are not acquired. Instead can be developed at birth or within the first few months of life when deprived oxygen during development causes tissue damage to the organ. 

Heart Disease Is Usually Congenital

Most heart disease in dogs is genetic. It means that it is passed on from generation to generation through genes. The DNA of a dog's parents determines the likelihood of their offspring developing heart disease later in life.

If both parents have a history of heart disease, their offspring also has an increased chance of developing it. However, canine heart disease can also be acquired, rarer than genetic causes. 

Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy (HCM)

Canine hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) is dogs' most common form of heart disease. It can lead to congestive heart failure, which is when blood backs up into the lungs and makes them unable to function correctly.

When a dog has HCM, its ventricles and the heart's two lower chambers will become abnormally thickened, making it difficult for blood to flow through. The result? The heart does not pump blood as effectively as it should, which can eventually lead to death if left untreated. You can give your dog pet meds like Furosemide for dogs to cure HCM. 

Dilated Cardiomyopathy (DCM)

Dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) is a genetic disease that causes the heart to weaken and grow larger. The heart muscle becomes stiff and unable to pump blood properly. Most dogs with DCM have a heart murmur when a vet examines them, but there are other signs you can watch for:

? Your dog may be reluctant to exercise or play with you. The more active your dog is, the more complicated its heart has to work, so if they seem tired after walking or doing other things, this could indicate something more profound. You can use supplements like Wellness CORE dog food and the Honest Kitchen dog food with other pet medication to cure the disease and reduce the symptoms.

? You might notice that their dog collars don’t fit as well as they used to; their neck has gotten fatter from excess fluid retention caused by increased pressure within their heart vessels due to poor cardiac function. 


Canine myocarditis is a heart muscle inflammation that a viral infection can cause. The most common viruses that cause it are parvovirus and canine distemper virus (CDV).

In dogs, the heart muscle is inflamed and damaged, leading to congestive heart failure (CHF), when fluid accumulates in your dog's lungs because the heart can't pump blood effectively. Myocarditis often goes undetected until it manifests as CHF or sudden death. Your vet may recommend pet meds like Amoxicillin for dogs to treat the issue. 

Mitral Valve Disease (MVD)

Mitral valve disease (MVD) is a common heart condition in dogs, usually caused by a degenerative process that affects the valve. Mitral valves are two flaps of tissue that open and close when blood flows from the left side of the heart to the right side. 

The leaflets can be too small, or they may not open properly, causing backflow from one chamber to another. This creates an imbalance within your dog's circulatory system: instead of receiving oxygenated blood for distribution throughout his body, he receives deoxygenated blood that has been pumped through his lungs at least once already. 

Myxomatous Mitral Valve Disease (MMVD)

In MMVD thickening of the valves begins as simple changes in their shape, but over time it can lead to a decrease in blood flow from the left ventricle into the left atrium. This condition causes fluid build-up within your pet’s lungs and makes it harder for them to breathe properly; this leads to more severe symptoms like coughing, difficulty breathing, and a “muffled” sound when they breathe. 


Heart disease is a serious issue in dogs, but many of the most common heart conditions in canines can be prevented. If you suspect that your pet might have heart disease, it’s important to take them to the vet as soon as possible so they can be properly diagnosed and treated.

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