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The heart is an important and complex organ, and heart disease in dogs can show up in a variety of ways affecting specific parts of the heart and body.

Some heart conditions are present at birth (called congenital heart defects). The most common congenital heart defects in dogs are patent ductus arteriosus (PDA), subaortic stenosis (SAS), pulmonic stenosis, and ventricular septal defect (VSD).

Other heart conditions develop as the dog ages. Some of the most common heart conditions in dogs are degenerative mitral valve disease, dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM), and pericardial disease.

Another condition affecting the heart is heartworm disease. Heartworms are transmitted by mosquitos and can affect cats and dogs. This disease is more common in certain parts of the world, especially in warmer regions.

The information included in this section covers the most commonly diagnosed heart diseases in dogs. However, because every dog is unique, your dog may not show the typical symptoms, or your dog may have a less common disease that is not listed here. Diagnosis and treatment will be specific for your dog. Your veterinarian can answer specific questions you have about your dog’s condition.