Enlarged Heart (Dilated Cardiomyopathy) Average Cost

From 39 quotes ranging from $2,000 - 6,000

Average Cost

$3,500

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What is Enlarged Heart (Dilated Cardiomyopathy)?

With dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) the heart muscle becomes thinner than normal, is weakened, and results in poor pumping ability, valve leakage and arrhythmia. This loss of the heart’s ability to properly contract is a common acquired disease of the heart in dogs. It is predominantly seen in male middle-aged canines. Large breed dogs are most predisposed but many other dogs are known to be susceptible. The large breed dogs are the Doberman Pinscher, Boxer, Irish Wolfhound, Great Dane, Scottish Deerhound, Labrador Retriever, Newfoundland Retriever, Saint Bernard, and German Shepherd. In addition, Dalmatians, Welsh Corgi, Tibetan Terriers, and Spaniels (specifically American Cocker, English Cocker, and Springer) are prone to acquiring an enlarged heart.

Dilated cardiomyopathy is a disease in which the heart muscle becomes enlarged and weak. Loss of ability to contract is a main component of the condition, affecting both left and right sides of the heart. The chambers of the heart (atria and ventricles) are put under great strain due to enlargement and impairment of function.

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Symptoms of Enlarged Heart (Dilated Cardiomyopathy) in Dogs

The signs of dilated cardiomyopathy can vary from pet to pet depending on the stage of the disease. If you see your canine companion exhibit any of the following symptoms, be sure to contact your veterinarian for an appointment, or if needed seek assistance at the emergency clinic.

  • Exercise is becoming difficult to manage
  • He tires easily
  • He is reluctant to partake in activity
  • He is panting excessively
  • He coughs or clears his throat often
  • He appears weak
  • There has been an episode of fainting
  • Weight loss is apparent
  • His abdomen seems enlarged (fluid accumulation can cause this)
  • His breathing is heavy

In later stages of dilated cardiomyopathy, your pet will have additional signs of discomfort.

  • Reluctance to lie down
  • Loss of appetite
  • Inability to get comfortable
  • Collapse

Unfortunately, with this condition, sudden death may occur.

Causes of Enlarged Heart (Dilated Cardiomyopathy) in Dogs

An enlarged heart is an acquired condition; the specific cause is presently unknown. Factors that are thought to contribute are as follows.

  • Breed disposition
  • Low thyroid
  • Prolonged arrhythmias
  • Ischemia
  • Amino acid deficiencies (typically taurine and carnitine)
  • Toxicity
  • Infection

As a result of these causes congestion, edema, and effusion lead to heart failure.

Diagnosis of Enlarged Heart (Dilated Cardiomyopathy) in Dogs

When you bring your canine companion to the veterinarian for his appointment, a physical examination may alert your veterinarian to the heart issue right away. Upon listening to the heart, she could hear abnormal sounds like a murmur or arrhythmia. Your dog’s pulse could be weak. 

These signs will indicate that further investigation is warranted. There are a few tests that can be ordered which are very accurate in diagnosing a condition such as dilated cardiomyopathy. Chest radiographs can show that your dog’s heart is most likely enlarged, which is a benchmark sign of this type of heart ailment. An electrocardiogram can confirm the existence of arrhythmia and irregularities with the left atrium and ventricle. The use of an ultrasound and quite possibly a 24 hour Holter monitor can give more information on the state of inflammation and blood flow of the heart.

Treatment of Enlarged Heart (Dilated Cardiomyopathy) in Dogs

If there is an underlying condition contributing to the dilated cardiomyopathy, treatment can be greatly improved with concurrent therapy. In the case of amino acid or enzyme disturbances, supplementation (for example taurine) has been shown to help improve changes that are occurring in the heart. 

Delaying the progression of the enlarged heart and the symptoms that result is key because dilated cardiomyopathy has no cure. The therapy chosen will be to give comfort to your dog and to slow the changes associated with the disease. Medication to aid in the contraction of the heart muscle, diuretics to decrease fluid retention, and drugs to stabilize heart rhythm are essential to treatment. The response of your pet to these therapies will depend on his age and how advanced the condition was at time of diagnosis.

Recovery of Enlarged Heart (Dilated Cardiomyopathy) in Dogs

The prognosis for canines diagnosed with dilated cardiomyopathy is guarded. The condition usually progresses fairly quickly but depending on the stage at time of discovery as well as the breed of your dog may determine the outcome. Dogs survive from a few months to a few years, with the average being around one year after symptoms are seen. As the disease progresses, the medications your pet is taking will need to be adjusted. Follow up appointments will be required to monitor the condition of the heart. Blood tests must be done at regular intervals to check on the effects of medication on kidney function. Keep in contact with your veterinarian, and do not hesitate to call her her or take your pet to the clinic if you feel his condition is changing, or if he is showing signs of advanced heart problems.

Enlarged Heart (Dilated Cardiomyopathy) Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

Soda Pop
Border Collie
11 Years
Moderate condition
0 found helpful
Moderate condition

Has Symptoms

groaning, heavy breathing, fatigue,

Medication Used

enalpril

Hi, my 11 year old male Border Collie diagnosed with enlarged heart and now on meds. No fainting yet, but most of the other signs are present. He almost continually makes a groaning/gutteral/growly noise, especially when lying down, sleeping,resting and especially when he gets up in the morning. Should I be worried or is this just a symptom? Also, is it OK to continue walking him 2-3 miles a day or should I hold off?

Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
2334 Recommendations
Breathing changes are a normal course in the development of dilated cardiomyopathy, it is important to ensure that Soda Pop isn’t struggling to breathe and is comfortable. As for walking, I would reduce the distance especially if you notice Soda Pop is struggling; it is important to get exercise and fresh air but we don’t want to put unnecessary stress on the heart. You should visit your Veterinarian regularly for an examination to check for progression of symptoms and to ensure that Soda Pop is otherwise in good shape. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

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Barney
Medium
9 Years
Serious condition
0 found helpful
Serious condition

Has Symptoms

short of breath
Coughing

Medication Used

Enalapril, Vetmedin , Lacix

My lovely dog has diagnosed heart enlargement and left artery dilated... Dr said his disease at level 2. They gave the enapril and vetmedin... It is said in most of articles on the web the dogs who has heart enlargement have min 6 max 24 months life span... What is the best way to keep him healthy and longer his life.. What about diets? What he should eat ? I know no salt anymore or fatty things etc... What about eating meat or getting protein? I would be so grateful if you inform me about what else or can i do the best for him?

Dr. Michele King, DVM
Dr. Michele King, DVM
885 Recommendations
Thank you for your email. Without seeing Barney, Im not sure that I can offer much advice, but the heart medications that your veterinarian has put him on are quite effective in treating certain kinds of heart disease. There is a prescription diet that is made for heart disease, and that may help prolong his comfortable life. Your veterinarian can help you with these decisions. i hope that he is okay.

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Buster
Boarder collie
13 Years
Serious condition
0 found helpful
Serious condition

Has Symptoms

Panting winded some coughing
winded
Panting
Coughing

My 13 y/o was diagnosed with enlarged heart last week. We went for ultra sound which both my reg. vet and one doing ultra sound said they expected to find a tumor or some growth to cause the enlargement but nothing was found. Sent him home on antibiotics for some fluid found in lungs, but no heart medications. Should I be asking for something to help him stay more comfortable? At this point he seems good, but gets winded easy and pants more.

Dr. Michele King, DVM
Dr. Michele King, DVM
885 Recommendations
Thank you for your email. If Buster has fluid building up in his lungs and an enlarged heart, many veterinarians would have him start on heart medication. It would be worth a phone call to your veterinarian to let them know that he is still having some trouble and ask if they think heart medications would be appropriate, as they have examined him and know the results of his ultrasound. I hope that all goes well for him.

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Doodles
Maltese Bichon Frise
12 Years
Mild condition
0 found helpful
Mild condition

Has Symptoms

Fainting
Murmur
Enlarged heart
Coughing

My dog has always had a heart murmur since she was a puppy, but in the last 24 hours she has fainted twice briefly following a cough (she used to cough occasionally but never fainting). We took her to the vet and they told us her heart is enlarged thus pushing on her trachea, but no fluids in her lungs. We have an appointment with a cardiologist in a couple days but until then we can only monitor her closely. Is this a serious condition or is it likely something more manageable?

Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
2334 Recommendations
Fainting generally occurs in these cases due to a lack of blood flow to the brain and once a dog faints, the blood flow goes to the brain and they get back up again. There are options for medical management to help improve contractility of the heart and improve the pumping efficacy of the heart but this would be best discussed with the Cardiologist. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

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Beauty
Cocker Spaniel
Nine Years
Fair condition
0 found helpful
Fair condition

Has Symptoms

some panting; sleeps a lot.

Medication Used

Vetmedin

My 9 year-old cocker spaniel, Beauty, has been diagnosed with stage 4 heart enlargement. Can you tell me what these levels are; I can't seem to find information, such as is level 3 better or worse than level 4? Beauty pants more now, but is still a great walker and eater. She has been prescribed Vetmedin twice a day (2.5 gr. each).

Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
2334 Recommendations
There are different methods of monitoring dilated cardiomyopathy; the two links below reference both commonly used methods; I don’t know if your Veterinarian was referring to a heart murmur as being grade IV but for dilated cardiomyopathy staging generally goes 1-3 with 3 being the most severe. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM http://vetspecialists.co.uk/factsheets/Cardiology/DCM.html www.cliniciansbrief.com/sites/default/files/attachments/Heart%20Disease%20Diagnosis%20&%20Treatment.pdf

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Jack
Shih Tzu
10 Years
Fair condition
0 found helpful
Fair condition

Has Symptoms

Sounds congested.
Sleeps alot
snorting
Sounds congested
Rattling heard in his breathing

Medication Used

Lasix/Furosemide 12.5mg
Enalapril, 5mg

Our dog Jack, 10 yr old Shih Tzu was diagnosed yesterday with a murmur, enlarged heart and fluid around the bottom of his heart. No prior history. Vet said he felt condition was caught early. We were given heart med and diuretic. Will meds fix this issue, will meds reverse condition? How long realistically, does our baby have if this condition isn’t reversed. He is not overweight and as of now is eating and drinking water normally. Just abnormally sleeping a lot.

Dr. Michele King, DVM
Dr. Michele King, DVM
885 Recommendations
Thank you for your email. If the diuretic effectively clears the fluid from Jack's lungs, and he responds well to the heart medications, he may live a life unaffected by his heart disease. Enalapril is an effective medication for heart disease, and if caught early, he may be fine. Heart disease isn't reversible, but the medications can help his heart work more efficiently so that it doesn't affect his life. It would be a good idea to have frequent rechecks with your veterinarian to make sure that everything is working as it should. I hope that he is okay.

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Saimon
Pomeranian
5 Years
Moderate condition
0 found helpful
Moderate condition

Has Symptoms

Laziness
abdomen swelling
Coughing

My dog is 5 years old and she is suffering from coughing since November and no doctor is able to find out any cure for it. She also has heart enlargement. Can you please give a home remedy for the cough

Dr. Michele King, DVM
Dr. Michele King, DVM
885 Recommendations
Thank you for your email. Without examining Saimon, listening to her heart and lungs, and evaluating her cardiovascular system, I cannot recommend any treatments, as there can be many factors behind a cough. If her heart is enlarged and putting pressure on her trachea, your veterinarian can prescribe a cough suppressant for her that should help. If the cough is related to heart disease, there are medications that can help with that. If the cough is related to a fungal or bacterial infection, there are medications for those conditions as well. It would be best to have her evaluated by your veterinarian, find out the cause of the cough, and get the appropriate medication. I hope that you are able to get resolution for her cough.

we have consulted many doctors but they are not able to diagnose the exact problem and their medications are also not being useful

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Milo
Shih Tzu
1 Year
Fair condition
0 found helpful
Fair condition

Has Symptoms

Coughing

My 1 year old Shih Tzu plays a lot. He’s not weak and he eats a lot without fail. He’s very normal but lately, he suddenly coughs and makes sounds like when a human’s nose is clogged and we try to breathe in and out. Like a honk? But it only lasts for a few seconds and then after that, he goes back to playing. I’m worried.

Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
2334 Recommendations
Your description sounds more like tracheal collapse than anything else which would be consistent with the characteristic goose ‘honk’ and the breed. This is a condition where the airway collapses reducing airflow, it can be managed and there are surgical options too; you should have your Veterinarian take a look at Milo and an x-ray would be useful. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM https://wagwalking.com/condition/tracheal-collapse www.acvs.org/small-animal/tracheal-collapse www.cliniciansbrief.com/sites/default/files/attachments/Tracheal%20Collapse%20in%20Dogs.pdf

My lovely dog has diagnosed heart enlargement and left artery dilated... Dr said his disease at level 2. They gave the enapril and vetmedin... It is said in most of articles on the web the dogs who has heart enlargement have min 6 max 24 months life span... What is the best way to keep him healthy and longer his life.. What about diets? What he should eat ? I know no salt anymore or fatty things etc... What about eating meat or getting protein? I would be so grateful if you inform me about what else or can i do the best for him?

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Moose
Pomeranian
10 Years
Serious condition
1 found helpful
Serious condition

Has Symptoms

Coughing

Medication Used

Pimobendan
Enalapril

Our 10 yr old Pomeranian was taken in for routine teeth cleaning, Vet said she had a stg 3 murmur, negative for heart worms. (was not noticed on last vet visit 1.5 years ago). They did xray and said she has an enlarged heart and needs medication the rest of her life. The only symptom she has had is coughing, she has had an occ cough all her life, but has increased the last 6+ months. She doesn't cough everyday and has had no other symptoms. She is very active and can hike several miles, better than our big dogs, and never seems tired or sob. She doesn't have any wheezing, or crackles, or swelling. She has never passed out. She does occ get a reverse sneeze(what vet called it) when excited, but again this has been all her life. She was started on enalapril 1.25mg qpm and pimobendan 0.625mg twice daily. She was also given antibiotics for inflamed trachea. she weighs 7 pounds. Everything we get look up online gives a dismal prognosis. She rarely gets treats, and her dog food is Blue Buffalo small breed. We did not get to speak to vet except on phone. Does this diagnosis truly this dismal, and is there anything we can do to extend her quality of life, and what symptoms we should be looking for. Our whole family is devastated. Thank you,
Kristy

Dr. Michele King, DVM
Dr. Michele King, DVM
885 Recommendations
Thank you for contacting us about Moose today. Her diagnosis of an enlarged heart may not be as bad as you are reading - there is a lot of information on the internet! That is actually one of the benefits of having regular veterinary visits, to pick things up while we can still do something about them. It isn't uncommon for small breed dogs to develop thickening of their mitral valves, and develop a murmur and and heart enlargement. Many small breed dogs can live normal lives without the heart condition affecting their lives. Moose isn't showing signs, and your veterinarian started her on preventive medications to help her heart work more effectively. Without an ultrasound, your veterinarian can't be sure of the actual diagnosis, but the therapy she is on is very appropriate. If you see signs of heart disease or heart failure, that will change the situation, of course, but there are many dogs with heart murmurs that end up passing many years later of unrelated causes.

Thank you for your quick response. This information does help us relax a little. Moose has a f/u appointment in one week, so hopefully we will get more answers then.
thank you,
Kristy

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Cooper
Pomeranian
9 Months
Serious condition
0 found helpful
Serious condition

Has Symptoms

Head Tilt

I think my dog pomeranian named cooper has this disease,i am so sad to read about this because he is so young about almost 9 months pls give me some advice and treatments ..

I was really shock because in just past 2 mins he was very normal and suddenly he collapse
His head was tilted and he cannot barely move his feet pls give me suggestions im very thankful if you could reply :)

Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
2334 Recommendations
First it is important for you to visit your Veterinarian as any medication is prescription based and would need to be done after a physical examination. If it is dilated cardiomyopathy, there are some management options available which may include pimobendan or ACE inhibitors; there are other cardiac causes and non-cardiac cases which would need to be investigated. Your Veterinarian will want to take blood tests, x-rays (to see the size of the heart and other organs) and echocardiography. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

My 16 year old diabetic dog has this enlarged heart and has been diagnosed the medication prescribed furosemide 40mg 1/2 tablet is causing him to cough and choke up more than he did when he was diagnosed how do we keep him more comfortable prior to losing him? We decided against the other medication that was long term and could not take him of it based on side effects like this one?

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Lily
Miniature Australian Shepherd
8 Months
Moderate condition
0 found helpful
Moderate condition

Has Symptoms

Coughing

Today my almost 8 month old mini Aussie was seen by her vet. We took her in because of cough we could control with antibiotics. He performed an X-ray and found that her right atrium and ventricle are enlarged. What might the etiology be? We are heartbroken.

Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
2334 Recommendations

The etiology of right-sided heart enlargement in an eight month old puppy is hard to say, this type of condition usually occurs in older dogs. Congenital deformities are the usual suspects, but at times the cause is unknown and treatment is concentrated on supportive care of the heart. As the heart gets larger, its muscle wall weakens making it less effective at pumping blood which leads to the heart increasing in size yet again. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

how do i ask for advise? i have a very sick puppy and i need some hope or advise

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