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Degenerative Valve Disease in Dogs

Degenerative Valve Disease in Dogs

Cost of Treatment: $8,025 to $14,550

What Is Degenerative Valve Disease

Often called mitral valve deficiency, this condition occurs when heart valve components thicken, become nodular and are unable to properly release the necessary volume of blood. The end result is an overload of blood volume in the left side of the dog’s heart.

Older dogs are particularly susceptible, with the condition potentially leading to congestive heart failure. While the exact cause remains unknown, its repeated occurrence in certain breeds may indicate the condition is genetic.

Symptoms of Degenerative Valve Disease in Dogs

  • No symptoms may be apparent in the early stages
  • Heart murmurs
  • Weakness
  • Inability to exercise
  • Rapid breathing
  • Coughing and difficulty breathing if fluid accumulates in the lung

Degenerative Valve Disease Treatment

While the disease has no cure and valve replacement surgery is typically not feasible, medications can be used to improve heart function.

Diuretics can help eliminate excess bodily fluids, digitalis can help strengthen heart contractions, and vasodilators can help ease blood flow through the body. A specialized, low-sodium diet may also help.

As the most common cardiac issue in older dogs, more than one in three dogs aged 10 and older will end up with mitral valve deficiency.

Many dog health insurance plans cover degenerative valve disease, with some offering coverage for life that continues to cover your dog at any age.

Return to the Dog Health Problems glossary.

1 Comment
  1. Reply
    Aron Summers 10/31/2016 at 9:59 am

    My dog was healthy, agile and active until he turned nine. Then he developed all sorts of problems including arthritis and Valve Disease. The diuretics and other medications have definitely helped, and my vet says she still has some living left to do.

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