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At The Heart Of It: Myxomatous Mitral Valve Disease

Hi, Dr. Sio Nanni here, and welcome to the Oak Bay Pet Clinic blog (#oakbaypetclinic). I am really excited about the opportunity to use this space to help you understand some of the conditions that may affect your pet. And I want to start by looking at a condition that can be present in small dogs -- Myxomatous Mitral Valve Disease, which over time can degrade the heart's mitral valve (#myxomatous #mitral). As this thickening and degradation continues, the heart becomes less effective at efficiently pushing all of the blood through, eventually leading to some blood accumulation within the heart.


If we look at a recent case we had in the clinic, a lovely Boston Terrier named Betty came to see us several weeks ago due to some breathing difficulties and weight loss (#bostonterrier). After taking x-rays, we found that little Betty’s heart was too big, and as a result, some fluid had accumulated in her lungs. We began treating her for heart failure and she started feeling much better. As more and more blood accumulates, the chambers of the heart can enlarge. After the heart begins to increase in size, blood continues to pool further upstream from the heart, causing increased pressure in the lungs. At this point, dogs with this type of heart disease end up in heart failure.


But, I am happy to report that the lovely Betty is responding quite well, thanks to several heart medications that help ensure her heart pumps efficiently, and the fluid does not come back into her lungs. Some common medications used in heart disease and heart failure include benazepril, pimobendan and furosemide (#benazepril, #pimobendan, #furosemide). With appropriate therapy we at Oak Bay Pet Clinic aim to ensure our patients are comfortable while enjoying an appropriate quality of life long term. Through regular checkups little Betty's condition can be vastly improved by eliminating fluid in the lungs and helping the heart to pump efficiently going forward.



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