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Aortic Stenosis in Dogs

By: PetPlace Veterinarians

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Diagnosis

Diagnostic tests are needed to recognize SAS and exclude other diseases. Tests may include:

  • Complete medical history and physical examination, including examination with a stethoscope (cardiac auscultation)

  • There is no blood test for diagnosis of aortic stenosis.

  • An echocardiogram (ultrasound of the heart) with Doppler is needed to make a definitive diagnosis. If possible, see a veterinary cardiologist for this examination.

  • A chest X-ray may be recommended, especially if there are signs of heart failure.

  • An electrocardiogram (EKG) or a 24-hour electrocardiogram (Holter EKG) may be recommended to identify abnormal heart rhythms.

    Treatment

    For mild cases, there is no treatment. For more serious cases, treatments for SAS may include one or more of the following:

  • Surgery and cardiac catheterization procedures have been used to dilate or cut out the affected area; however, these procedures do not significantly increase long-term survival.

  • Drugs called beta-blockers, such as propranolol, atenolol and metoprolol, are often prescribed to protect the heart muscle and reduce irregular heartbeats.

  • Drugs for heart failure may be prescribed should an irregular heartbeat develop.

    Home Care and Prevention

    If your dog has SAS, find out the degree of severity so you can modify your dog's activity. Mild cases of SAS pose no real activity/exercise limitations, but more advanced cases may require some exercise restriction or medical therapy.

    Learn to measure your dog's rectal temperature. If your dog is acting sick and has a fever (temperature greater than 103), call your veterinarian immediately.

    Schedule regular examinations (every 6 to 12 months) and possibly chest X-rays and/or an echocardiogram.

    Breeders should have their dogs screened for SAS. Never breed a dog with congenital heart disease.


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