Estimates indicate that 10% of all dogs seen in primary care veterinary practices
have heart disease.1 As dogs age, the prevalence of heart disease reaches more
The 2 principal causes of acquired heart disease are:
- Atrioventricular valvular insufficiency (AVVI), a disease that
affects the heart valves. AVVI accounts for about 75% of canine heart
disease cases in the US.1,3
- Dilated Cardiomyopathy4, a disease that directly
affects the heart muscle.
Congestive heart failure (CHF) can affect dogs of all ages, sizes, and breeds, but
most commonly occurs in older dogs. If not diagnosed and treated properly, CHF
can cause a rapid deterioration in health that ultimately results in death.
1. Atkins C, Bonagura J, Ettinger S, et al. Guidelines for the diagnosis and treatment of canine chronic valvular heart disease. J Vet Intern Med. 2009;23(6):1142–1150.
2. Rush JE. Chronic valvular heart disease in dogs. Proceedings from the 26th Annual Waltham Diets/OSU Symposium for the Treatment of Small
Animal Cardiology; October 19–20, 2002. Available at: www.vin.com/proceedings/Proceedings.plx?CID=WALTHAMOSU2002&PID=2988. Accessed
January 21, 2011.
3. Sisson D. Valvular heart disease in dogs. Proceedings from the WSAVA
2002 Congress; October 3–6, 2002; Granada, Spain. Available at:
Accessed January 21, 2011.
4. O’Grady MR, Minors SL, O’Sullivan ML, Horne R. Effect of pimobendan on case fatality rate in Doberman pinschers with congestive heart failure caused by dilated cardiomyopathy. J Vet Intern Med. 2008;22(4):897–904.