Harlequin Haven Great Dane Rescue

Harlequin Haven
Great Dane Rescue

11567 St. Rt. 774
Bethel, Ohio 45106

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Dilated Cardiomyopathy

Dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) is characterized by enlargement of the muscles of the heart. As a result of being stretched, the heart muscles become weakened and the organ looses its ability to pump blood efficiently throughout the body.

Dilated cardiomyopathy has been associated with various conditions that cause damage to heart muscle. Certain nutritional deficiencies, viral infections, and medications (Adriamycin - an anticancer drug) are linked to this "enlarged heart" syndrome.

In most cases, the cause of dilated cardiomyopathy is unknown. Because the disease is most common in certain large breeds, a genetic or familial link has been suggested. Affected dogs are often young, ranging between 2 and 5 years of age. Male dogs are more commonly affected.

Symptoms of the disease:   Exercise intolerance, coughing, fatigue, pot bellied, and weight loss are characteristic symptoms for dogs with dilated cardiomyopathy.

X-rays, blood tests, and ECG are helpful in diagnosing the disease. These tests are necessary in order to rule out the possibility of other problems. The definitive diagnosis is made with echocardiography.

Treatment for dilated cardiomyopathy is mediocre at best. Your veterinarian will recommend the treatment that is best suited for your dog.

Dilated cardiomyopathy is a serious condition. Most dogs only live 6 to 12 months after the onset of clinical symptoms.

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