What is Congenital Heart Defect (Ebstein's Anomaly)?
Ebstein’s anomaly is a disease of the heart that is characterized by an abnormal tricuspid valve. Also known as tricuspid valve dysplasia (TVD), it is a hereditary condition that is more likely to happen in certain dog breeds than others. The right ventricle is separated from the right atrium by the tricuspid valve. This valve allows the blood to flow through from the right atrium to enter into the right ventricle. This valve has three cusp-like “flaps” that work to keep the blood from back-flowing into the right atrium. The tricuspid valve forms the boundary between the right ventricle and the right atrium. Tricuspid valve dysplasia occurs when the valves are displaced. This disease is also characterized by abnormal tendons and muscles that connect to the tricuspid valve. There are also other heart disorders that can occur due to this congenital heart defect, and it is important to have a veterinarian do a complete heart-check to be sure he is not suffering from another condition.
Ebstein’s anomaly is a congenital heart defect in dogs that occurs when the tricuspid valve does not work properly. It is known to occur in specific dog breeds.
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Symptoms of Congenital Heart Defect (Ebstein's Anomaly) in Dogs
Ebstein’s anomaly has symptoms that are similar to many other heart defects. Symptoms of this congenital heart disease include:
- Accumulation of fluid in the heart
- Swollen abdomen
- Difficulty breathing
- Inability to exercise
This condition occurs in several breed types more often than others. Ebstein’s anomaly occurs in the following breeds:
- Old English Sheepdogs
- Great Danes
- German Shepherds
- Irish Setters
- Labrador Retrievers
Causes of Congenital Heart Defect (Ebstein's Anomaly) in Dogs
The causes of congenital heart defect (Ebstein’s anomaly) in dogs are congenital. It is also very uncommon for its occurrence in dogs.
Diagnosis of Congenital Heart Defect (Ebstein's Anomaly) in Dogs
If you suspect your dog has a heart defect, make an appointment with your veterinarian. The veterinarian will ask you about the dog’s complete history and will ask you to explain the symptoms he is having in full detail. When listening to the heart with a stethoscope, the veterinarian may hear a murmur. The veterinarian may also perform imaging on the heart, and may see an enlarged right atrium section of the heart. With these tests, along with an echocardiogram, the medical professional will be that much closer to a diagnosis of Ebstein’s anomaly.
To come to a definitive diagnosis, the veterinarian will also perform a catheterization of the heart; with the measurement of the electrical activity on the right ventricle and pressure on the right atrium. Dogs that have Ebstein’s anomaly may also have other heart conditions present, such as septal defects, pulmonic or aortic stenosis, or mitral valve prolapse.
Treatment of Congenital Heart Defect (Ebstein's Anomaly) in Dogs
Since this disease can be treated in many cases, there are a variety of treatment options to help your dog live as long as possible.
The medication that is prescribed to your loved one is totally dependent on their actual, full diagnosis of Ebstein’s anomaly. Medications can include enalapril, pimobendan, and furosemide. The canine may also need to take anti-arrhythmic medication.
Oxygen therapy may be given to help with reducing the workload of the affected heart and to help supply the bloodstream with oxygenated blood.
Medical Therapy and Other Treatments
If your dog has heart failure due to this disease, or if there is another disease he has in conjunction with Ebstein’s anomaly, the veterinarian will prescribe any other effective medications for your loved one. The veterinarian may want to pursue medical therapy to help with the reduction of any pulmonary fluid build-up to improve your dog’s quality of life by making him comfortable.
Recovery of Congenital Heart Defect (Ebstein's Anomaly) in Dogs
Depending on the severity of the condition, the veterinarian will give specific instructions on how the dog should be cared for. The veterinarian will let you know what the dog can and cannot do, and how you can make your dog as comfortable and happy as possible. It is important to keep any follow-up visits with your medical professional. He may want to perform periodic testing to keep abreast of the dog’s heart health and suggest any other types of medical interventions that are necessary. The veterinarian will also give you suggestions on what to do if your dog seems to be suffering and just not having a good quality of life. If your dog has another heart condition in conjunction with Ebstein’s anomaly, your veterinarian will also give you instructions on how to care for him during this time, along with the proper medication he may need to take.