Dilated Cardiomyopathy is the most common heart disease affecting large dogs, but also occurs in medium sized dogs. The most commonly affected breeds we see are Dobermans, Great Danes, Boxers, German Shepherds and Cocker Spaniels.
In Dilated Cardiomyopathy, the muscle of the heart wall is weak and dilates under pressure, producing a flabby heart wall. The dilated heart is unable to pump effectively.
Affected dogs show an increased respiratory rate, tire easily and may have a cough. Occasionally symptoms can occur very quickly, and the first thing you notice may be collapse.
Rapid treatment is essential for survival. Some patients will have to be hospitalised. A number of different medications may be prescribed to improve heart function, but long term survival is unfortunately not good.