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Dilated Cardiomyopathy in Dogs (DCM)

By: PetPlace Veterinarians

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Related Symptoms or Diseases

DCM is thought to be the result of diverse processes that affect heart muscle cell function. The vast majority of cases of DCM are idiopathic, which means they have no known cause and are probably predisposed by genetic factors. Causes may include:

  • Deficiency of metabolic substrates (taurine)
  • Myocarditis (inflammation of the myocardium)
  • Severe global myocardial ischemia (lack of blood supply to the heart)
  • Toxic injury to the heart muscle cells that can be caused by some drugs like doxorubicin or potassium iodide toxicity
  • Persistently abnormal heart rhythms such as sustained ventricular or supraventricular tachycardia
  • Chronic hypokalemia (low blood potassium)
  • Idiopathic

    A number of other diseases can be easily confused with dilated cardiomyopathy unless an appropriate diagnostic evaluation is completed. Diagnostic tests should help exclude the following conditions from consideration:

  • Congenital heart diseases (birth defects)
  • Chronic valve disease
  • Hypertensive heart disease (heart enlargement from high blood pressure)
  • Pericardial diseases (the lining around the heart)
  • Mediastinal masses (tumors in the front part of the chest cavity)
  • Myocarditis (inflammation of the heart muscle - a most difficult condition to diagnose)
  • Moderate to severe anemia (anemia can cause heart failure)
  • Heartworm disease
  • Fever (fever can result in a heart murmur)

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