What is dilated cardiomyopathy?
Cardiomyopathy is defined as degeneration of the heart muscle. As a result of this degeneration, the muscle becomes thinner, particularly the thick muscle wall of the left ventricle. The pressure of the blood inside the heart causes these thin walls to stretch resulting in a much larger heart. This condition is described as Dilated Cardiomyopathy (DCM).
How common is the condition?
Dilated cardiomyopathy is the most common cause of heart failure in the large breeds of dogs. These include Boxers, Dobermans, and Great Danes. Occasionally medium size... Read More
Dr.Utchen, the vet says my dog has a heart murmur. What exactly is this, and is this serious?
Answer: Heart murmurs can be completely harmless or can represent more serious problems. What a “murmur” refers to is the sound blood makes when is goes through an unusually narrow opening inside the heart.
In most cases this means a valve is not sealing completely when it is closed and therefore some blood can leak through a narrow defect in a valve that is otherwise supposed to be shut. This can be a condition that is present from birth with no ill effects. A dog can also be born with several heart abnormalities that can... Read More
Grape and Raisin Toxicity by Frank Utchen, DVMGastrointestinal
Can raisins and grapes really poison dogs?... Read More
Laparoscopic Gastropexy: What Is It?Gastrointestinal
What is a gastropexy?
A gastropexy is a surgical procedure performed in order to prevent Gastric Dilatation and Volvulus (GDV), commonly called torsion or bloat. GDV is a life-threatening condition where the stomach flips or twists, trapping air and gases in the stomach. Circulation to the spleen and stomach are cut off, causing the dog to go into shock and, if untreated, die. During a gastropexy, the stomach is attached to the abdominal wall, so that it is unable to twist.
In the past, this procedure was almost always performed in response to a GDV emergency. An emergency gastropexy is performed through a large abdominal incis... Read More