Can Dogs Live with Enlarged Hearts?

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When it comes to your dog's heart, you do everything you can to make sure it's healthy, but some things, like enlarged hearts, are impossible to prevent. An enlarged heart is a condition where your pup's heart muscle becomes thinner than normal. Because of this, they'll likely have valve leakage, heart arrhythmia, and their heart simply won't pump as much, or as well, as it needs to. 

Your pup's heart will become enlarged, weak, and won't be able to contract as it needs to. While you can take steps to always monitor your pup's health, sometimes enlarged hearts happen, but does that mean your pup won't make it? Can dogs live with enlarged hearts? 

There's good news and bad news for this condition. On the negative side, there's no cure for an enlarged heart - but luckily, with the right treatment, careful diet and exercise, and the right regimen of medicine, your pup can still live a long and happy life. 

Read on to learn about the signs your dog might be showing you to signify his condition, ways to combat his enlarged heart, and a touch of science and history about enlarged hearts in canines to give you a better idea of what you'll be dealing with. 

Introduction of Can Dogs Live with Enlarged Hearts?

Signs Your Dog May Have an Enlarged Heart

An enlarged canine heart condition is referred to by dog-tors as dilated cardiomyopathy, which is also called DCM. With this condition, the heart muscle becomes weaker, thinner, and can't function like a normal heart, allowing the muscle to swell and struggle to contract and pump blood like it normally would. 

This condition is fairly common in older dogs, and especially in large dog breeds. Deerhounds, Great Danes, Dobermans, Saint Bernards, and Shepherds are a few of the breeds who are best known for this disease. With this condition, a pup's heart becomes enlarged and weak, and the chambers of his heart are put under great stress and strain, making it difficult for your pup to function.

This will typically manifest in several signs you should look out for. While your dog can't verbally tell you what's wrong, odds are, he's trying to tell you in some other way. If your dog is having a hard time exercising and is fatigued far easier than normal, this could reflect his heart's difficulty to keep up. If he's reluctant to partake in activity, has to cough a lot, can't stop panting, breathes heavy all the time, is losing a lot of weight, and appears much weaker than usual, these are all signs he may be suffering from an enlarged heart. 

Body Language

Your dog may be giving you various body language cues to let you know something is wrong, so it's important you keep an eye out for these symptoms - it may save your pup's life:
  • Shaking
  • Cowering
  • Panting
  • Pacing
  • Weakness

Other Signs

Some other signs your dog may be giving you, especially in conjunction with the above body language, can reflect heart issues your dog may be having:
  • Heavy Breathing
  • An Enlarged Abdomen
  • Exercise Intolerance
  • Clearing Throat or Coughing
  • Excessive Panting
  • Collapse and Fainting
  • Loss of Appetite and Weight Loss
  • Reluctance to Lie Down or Get Up

The Causes of Canine Enlarged Hearts

History of Can Dogs Live with Enlarged Hearts?
Historically, enlarged hearts in pups typically go hand-in-hand with conditions like congenital heart diseases, congestive heart failure, and heart disease. Knowing the possible causes of these diseases and this condition can help you keep an eye on your pup's heart health. 

Some of the causes of an enlarged heart include things that come with time, like old age and injury. Many middle-aged dogs, especially if they're a larger breed, develop this over time. 

Diet and exercise can play a role in a dog's heart health, too. Sometimes though, injury or infection can exacerbate an issue and cause heart problems. Often though, your dog might have just been born with a heart defect that you were unable to detect. Additionally, deficiencies in amino acids, toxicity, infection, and low thyroid can contribute as well. 

The Science Behind Enlarged Hearts

Science of Can Dogs Live with Enlarged Hearts?

Often, understanding how and why a disease or condition occurs can help lend itself to the treatment of the condition. That being said, it's important to understand the science behind a canine's enlarged heart. This condition is called Dilated Cardiomyopathy and occurs for a variety of reasons we mentioned above (genetic, diet, exercise, deficiencies, toxicity, etc). 

When a dog has DCM, the heart muscle expands and becomes enlarged, and at its worst, weak and unable to function. The loss of the ability to contract is the main component of the condition, affecting both sides of the heart. Because of this, the chambers of the heart, the atria and the ventricles, are put under great strain due to the enlargement and impairment of the over-sized heart muscle. 

How to Train and Treat Your Dog to Deal With His Enlarged Heart

Training of Can Dogs Live with Enlarged Hearts?
Once your dog's condition is diagnosed, it's probable that a lot has to change. Your pup will be placed on a regimen of medicine to slow down the symptoms of his heart, likely will need a new diet, and will probably be frequenting the dog-tor's office far more than he normally would. 

It's important to train your dog to adjust to these changes. Try rewarding your pup for acclimating to his new medicine and diet with tons of extra attention - perhaps you can find some diet-appropriate treats to reward him with as well. 

Try to make the vet's office as non-threatening as possible. The reward system will work here too, that way, your dog will associate the vet's office with a positive experience. 

Additionally, it's important to train your dog to take the pills he'll be on. Train him to play a thrown and catch game with his medicine, sneak them into his food, or even teach him how to take the pills gently out of your hand. Another way to give your dog medicine is to use liquid forms through a syringe. Find the solution that works best for your pup and make sure you reward him heavily after!

How to React if You Suspect Your Dog Has and Enlarged Heart

  • Contact your vet immediately.
  • Teach your pup to accept his new lifestyle changes in exercise, diet, and medicine.
  • Establish a medicine regimen for your pup.
  • Work with your vet on a diet and exercise program.
  • Value the time you have with your dog.
11 Months
Has An Enlarged Heart
heart murmur
rapid breathing
vomiting water
bloated stomach

I have been told that with medication and Poppy's enlarged heart (we have found out she was born with it) she now has 1-2 months to live. I hope that she can live longer than that because we are heartbroken

4 years ago
I am so sorry to hear about Poppy's condition. We have a 13-year-old Toy Poodle with an enlarged heart and fluid in the lungs, which cause a lot of coughing and gaging among other symptoms. She was prescribed a Diuretic (Water Pill), and is doing better.

I will pray for Poppy as prayer has been a source of healing in so many parts of my life. God Bless Poppy and you.
If you have the money for a possible procedure I would ask
For a referrel to your local university veternary teaching college! They are very up to date and they may be able to intervene!
My jack russell age 11 diagnosed with enlarged hert told 6 months max hes on water and heart tablets its heartbreaking xx
I have a 9 yr old doberman with enlarged heart. If you Google stem cell clinical trials for dogs with enlarged hearts. They are available. And they look promising.
I have an 8 year old Doberman (male) and he was diagnosed with CHF in August. We found out that he is in the last stages of DCM and he showed no clinical signs prior. Days before we found out he had labored breathing and kept passing out. It was heartbreaking. We are told he has 6-12 months. Diesel is now on Vetmedin 2x daily, Benazepril 1x, spironolactone 2x daily. We’ve seen two cardiologists and they recommended fish oil, taurine supplements and a diet with no salt and MUST contain grains. He is doing good, we stopped his normal exercising and let him run around outside only for a minute or two and has an amazing appetite. Our only concern is he shakes or trembles for a couple of hours sometimes. We give him extra tons of love and affection.
Hi there, may I know how old is Poppy? I have a miniature poodle whom was just diagnosed with an enlarged heart. Ozzy is only 1 year and 7 mths this 21st of Nov. We are heartbroken =(
Our 17 month old Labrador has just been diagnosed with an enlargement of the right side of his heart, post being diagnosed with a Chylothorax. We have been told we have only months with him. We are absolutely devastated. He only showed coughing initially, which quickly progressed into laboured breathing. 😔
My French Bulldog, Gigi, was diagnosed with an enlarged heart at 4 months of age. We found it by accident doing an x-ray of her tummy. She turned 9 years old in April and just started having congestive symptoms the end of August. She is on diuretics and heart medication now and we are in wait and see mode. She seems better but still coughs when she gets excited..
Hi I’ve only just found out about my boy Kenco he has enlarged heart. Born with a heart murmur but never spotted by the vets . He coughs a lot especially when he gets up from a sleep 💤. He’s on vetnadin 2 a day . I hopes this helps him he’s nearly 10 now. I don’t want to lose him but I don’t want him to suffer either . It’s heartbreaking I know I don’t know how long dogs have left when they have this condition do you xxxxx
Can anyone tell me how long they have had with their dogs after diagnosis? My chihuahua was just diagnosed at age 7. He still chokes when he tries to drink water or if he overdoes it running. He still gets so excited to see me. I try to keep him calm but he is still a bit playful at times. It has been about 4 months since his diagnosis. He is on the vetmedin and 2 other meds. I hand feed him morning and night. I just want to do all I can for him.
Did you ever do an echocardiogram? Just wondering, my pom is 10 and enlarged heart has gotten bigger recently and a little fluid around heart now. Vet suggested the ultrasound (700$) . Just want to do whats best and makes sense. Tks!
Hello! My little jumbo is a pomeranian boo he is diagnosed with enlarged heart when he was two year. He is taking medication and until now is ok I think. I want ask if this dogs can make sexual intercourses ?
Hi I am so sorry to hear to hear about poppy even , my snowy( Lhasa apso) 13 years old have been recently diagnosed with right atrium enlargement when she kept coughing like as if something is stucked in her neck, and no other symptoms , she is right now on cardiocep and strongbeats to keep her heart strong and enalapril2.5mg BD dose. So she is doing fine at the moment , eats very well, very active. I hope she won’t be in pain now and forever. I pray for poppy as well, and all the dogs mentioned above in the comments
I have a 10 year old Cavashon, Yoshi who was diagnosed today with an enlarged heart twice the size it should be. I say it's because he has so much love to give.He has so much energy , but coughs and pants a lot now. He can't play for very long. He is supposed to live 2 months to a year depending on how the meds work and how God works in our lives. We are so saddened and my youngest son who is 18 will go off to college like his older brother in the fall. Please pray for Yoshi and family and I will do the same for Poppy and all of you.
My puppy has enlarged heart and it was recognized accidentally. She ia a just one year old and her breed is shih tzu. I did everything for her and still hope to find a way to give her a normal life and if not I cannot even imagine how should I face her loss.
my little chihuahua dog [red dog] just found out she has dcm enlarge heart ive had her 13 years im thinking of sending her to the rainbow bridge i love her so much and dont want her to be in pain she is my first dog and im over 60 i cant stand watching her breath like this
I also have a Chihuahua and she was diagnosed a few years ago with an Enlargedt heart and a liver issue. She’s 16 years old now. She’s very active but she does have a cough every now and then. Just now seems to be getting worse. The vet said to up her Lasix the two pills a day instead of one to keep the fluid down. If they are treated properly I think they can still have a little bit of life left. It is definitely heartbreaking knowing your pet has some issues. But if they still seem happy and are eating in the air though I would hang in there. They will tell you when they are ready to go to the rainbow heaven..
Richard H. and everyone else in this comment thread I hope you are all okay and that you were able to properly grieve your pets' conditions, I can't imagine the pain that you are all in
I have a Malteser with the heart disease,13 years old and now on medecine threatment,I hope your Dog stays good for long,regards Gino from Belgium,love you all.
I had 2 chichauchua and my 6 yar old died a few weeks ago after having grand mall seizures.I loved that little dog so much and it broke my heart to lose her. Now my older dog has an enlarged heart and coughs all the time. She is on 3 heart medicines and the vet says her prognosis is very bad.
My boy Dude was diagnosed with an enlarged heart yesterday morning, and I lost him yesterday afternoon. I am heartbroken. He was just over 12 years old. My vet is going to cremate him for me. He just started showing symptoms, and I took him to the vet as soon as I could. I am going to miss him.
My Yorkie, Napoleon passed over the 🌈 bridge at home, on October 3, 2021, with the help of Dr. Katie, of Lap of Love. He had an enlarged heart…. My ❤️ is forever broken. I’m so lost, he was with me from 9 weeks… he would’ve been 18 on March 3, 2022. Treasure your time with your Fur Babies…
11 Years
Labrador Retriever
Has An Enlarged Heart
excessive panting,

I took her in thinking she had larynx paralysis because of the coughing and labored breathing. The Vet advised getting an X-ray taken. The X-ray showed her heart was enlarged. I'm giving her an anti-anxiety med, an durectic and something else that I'm not sure what it's for. I guess it's just a matter of time now. I adopted her 9 years ago and I'm so glad I did.

4 years ago
Same here my boys on water tabets libeo and vetmedin for heart vet gave us 6 month max so enjoy every day xx
Our 10 year old mix breed dog was diagnosed in April with an enlarged heart , arrythmia, and CHF. He is on Lasix, Benazapril, Vetmedin and Trazadone.He has been coughing more and more at night and during the day. They told us back in April he had weeks or months. So stressful.
My Benji was recently diagnosed with an enlarged heart. He had fluid around the heart and was put on diuretics. He remains on diuretics to keep the fluids from coming back. No heart pills yet. Don't know if he will in the future, but it breaks my heart that he has this condition. I took him to the vet because he was coughing alot and I thought he was having allergy issues. I never suspected something like this. Benji is the best dog I've ever had. Very loving. If I'm sick, he seems to know and reacts very loving and comforting snuggles. I hope I have him for a long time, and I will do my best to make his life comfortable, as always.
My mini schnauzer, Moses, was just diagnosed at age 11. He is on Enalapril and is soooo lethargic. It’s frightening. Does their body eventually adjust to this medication?
I wish nothing but the best for you and Turbo. I recently lost my beloved Maltese Tavis. He was diagnosed 5 years ago with an enlarged heart and enlarged liver. He put up the fight of his life and My sister and I our so proud of him. He continued to live his life to the fullest until his last day on earth. Stay encouraged and tell Turbo to keep fighting!
How old was he when he was diagnosed? My son is almost 6 and he’s diagnosed with dcm yesterday. His breathing is very bad and he looks very weak. Is it true that they’ll live only for few months to a year max? I’m surprised that your baby lived five years. Surprised and happy.
Ralphie - our baby - Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever - 12-1/2 years old - diagnosed in Sept 2018 with ENLARGED HEART AND WATER IN LUNGS - Vet prescribed Water Pills and and an antibiotic - Gave him diarrhea - finished pills in 10 days i think - then back to Vet in January for infection on stomach - he was operated on and 2 tumors were removed from his belly - He was RAW on his entire belly and surrounding area where they had to shave him - Now- 3 months later he is off all pills except a thyroid pill and I have been giving him a different brand of food and CBD Treats every day - His hair is growing back and he only runs out of breath if we walk to far or long and at night when he is tired. His hair is growing back and when he sleeps he is so very still - WHAT A RELIEF! no more listening to him gasping for air - He is feeling better and walks with his tail up now in the air and not tucked under as he did when he did not feel well - His food is Orijin and Red Regional and I buy my treats from Holistic Pet - It is costly - but after the $8,000 we spent at the Vets- it is worth every cent because we kind of have Ralphie BACK!
How is he doing now? My 13 yo golden was just diagnosed yesterday with enlarged heart and fluid on lungs. I didn’t want to start meds of any kind until I do my research.
My Maltese Cross 12 year old was given 6 months Has a cough still at times but otherwise doing well 8 months down the track. Full of life and great appetite. Is on Vetmedin and Frudix diuretics
Tess came from SPCA. I was told she was 2-3 years old before the vet said more like 5-7. A large Beagle with elongated body and a serious gag reflex to a leash on her collar. The choking fit has become slowly worse. It’s a regular thing after she’s been napping. It sounds dreadful in spite of her heart and the water pills. But she’s a most loyal loving companion. I’ve have grown old with her these last 12 years. That makes her now age 14 to 19. I put a dog door in the kitchen wall which allows her to roam a fenced yard. She follows scent trails (squirrels to deer) thru flower beds and bushes every morning. She knows family cars in the driveway and only barks at strangers. What would I do without her!
I have a 11 year dokie he caught a lot I have him on heart pill but it not helping he eat but he is small n he is 13 pounds I want to get him down to 8 pounds I pray to God please gave him a new day I can never sleep because he starts over n over again it's in God's hands I lost 2 yorkies I can not do this no more there my baby n I can not go out in the heat the pills put him to sleep for 2 hours n starts again
9 Years
Has An Enlarged Heart

I am very sad to have found out that my buddy has a enlarged heart and a heart murmur, Plus he has bladder stones as well, his on meds for his heart and a special diet for the stones. For now the meds seem to be helping but feel like I’m just prolonging his suffering

4 years ago
I have a chihuahua also that has been diagnosed with an enlarged heart but they did not give her any meds. I am curious what heart meds they gave you for your Pippin?
So sorry to hear about your companion's condition. I, too, have a 14-year-old long-haired Chihauhua/ Pomeranian mix dog that I adopted about six years ago and found out in January that he has an enlarged heart. My vet has me giving him Vetmedin, Furosemide and Enalapril twice daily. It seems to be helping. He was coughing so badly he'd wake me up in the night and I'd lay there listening to him for ten minutes straight. Now that he's on drugs, he's doing better: still playful, enjoys his walks and no more coughing. Good luck!!!
Good to know Summer! My 11 year old Min-Pin had an x-ray showing an enlarged heart and now he is on Vetmedin & Benapril but still passing out. He also takes phenobarb for seizures for many years now.
My vet suggested we see a cardiologist. Is that the best way to get correct treatment?
I just found out my Pomeranian Chino has and an enlarged heart (slightly)... they put him on four medications: Benazepril, Lasix, and Denosyl & Vetmedin. He was hacking frequently and panting a lot.
My 11 year old bichon/poodle was diagnosed with an enlarged heart and a significant heart murmur a year ago. We took her to a cardiologist and he put her on 50 mg. FUrosemide 3 times a day, vetmedin, Enalapril and now Theophylline. She still coughs a lot, but seems to be happy and wants her short walks and playtime. We just cherish every minute we can with our little love bug.
Summer H’s comment. These are the three meds our boston terrier is taking as well. She was diagnosed in August last year and told she had 3 months max. She is still kicking and happy as a clam. Of course she coughs still but the meds must certainly be helping :)
Also have a chow about 5yrs. Had huge unbreakable stone (both kinds) had surgery survived but has a murmur coughing enlRged heart. The coughing is so pathetic does a humidifier help?
My chihuahua Lola recently passed. She was diagnosed with a grade 2 heart murmur so would cough after excitement, exertion, and drinking cold water. My vet told me not to worry about the murmur so I didn't. Then in September she went to have a few teeth cleaned and the vet advised that when she's sedated is the best time to do blood work and x-rays. So I agreed. The x-rays came back stating that she had kidney stones and a mild, generalized cardiomegaly. My vet assured me that it wasn't concerning but the kidney stones were and we should start with medicated food which I did. On October 19 I had been out of the house with a friend and when I came home she was excited like she always was. I had her in my arms and she yelped and then did a long howl-like sound and collapsed in my arms. She had been prone to seizures when she hadn't eaten enough so I thought that's what it was but she was completely unresponsive. 30 seconds after she collapsed she made what sounded like a coughing sound so I thought she had regained consciousness. I patted her back and stood up with her. That's when her bladder emptied. We jumped in the car to take her to the emergency vet an hour away but after half hour she was still unresponsive. My vet told me that it was likely heart failure and she died when she collapsed, in my arms. I looked back over the xray info yesterday and researched cardiomegaly. Now I know that it was something that should've been taken seriously by the vet. Maybe she wouldn't have lived long judging by the stories on here but I would've had the time to be with her and I would know what was coming. I could've done something. All of you on here did something with the information and I wish I would've followed suit because maybe she would still be here.
I will keep you and Pippin in my thoughts. I know you think you're lengthening his suffering but unless he's in pain I think you're giving him a longer life. More time to be with you and be happy. You're doing something to help him with his ailments and giving him a chance. We never know as fur-parents whether we are doing the right thing. It's hard when our babies can't vocalize but they can use body language and behaviour. If Pippin isn't deteriorating and doesn't seem to be in pain, I think you're doing the right thing. You're being a good parent. I wish you both well.
Jacquline, I'm so sorry to hear about your experience. And my compassion goes to all of those who has a dog with heart problems. My chihuahua Titan was diagnosed with enlarged heart a few hours ago and I'm heart broken. He is such a special dog for me.. i hope medc will make a difference.
My heart breaks for each of you. Just yesterday, we learned our 2 month old chin-pin, Gunner, had an enlarged heart. But unfortunately, we cannot afford the cardiologist. My children and I have made the decision to love him and comfort him until his time comes. He is such a delight and will practically smile at you. We have his mom and she can tell something is wrong with her baby. So we are doing our best to keep him comfortable and let him know he is loved beyond measure.
My heart is in pieces, our little Gunner crossed the rainbow bridge this afternoon. He was in the arms of my daughter, his human, when he took his last breath. As I told her, when he left us he was not alone and he knew he was loved.
Hi guys, I’m going to be very honest not to scare anyone, but rather because I wish someone was honest with me. My 15 year old Chihuahua recently passed. She had an enlarged heart and a grade 4/6 heart murmur.

We never got to the stage of getting her on proper heart meds. I had multiple vets (half a dozen) diagnose/misdiagnose her. We were told multiple times that she was not “in heart failure.” She was on furosemide for her cough that a cardiologist stated was caused from a collapsed trachea, not from heart failure.

She was scheduled for another echo and passed away before they were able to examine her. She either went into heart failure that quickly, as many of her vets warned could happen, or she was misdiagnosed.

Find an Internist (not a regular vet) and do not become confused by multiple/varying opinions like I did. It hasn’t even been a month since she passed and it haunts me not knowing if there was more I could have done for her or done differently, or prolonged her suffering, as another poster suggested. I have no answers. I’m just left devastated and tormented. I had the honor of taking care of her the entire 15 years. I wish the best for all of your fur babies. Please do your research and listen to your gut.
Jacquie, I feel the same exact way. I was also told by her (original) vet that it was a mild condition and nothing to worry about “yet.” I am heartsick. I am sorry for your loss as well. I can’t sleep or eat thinking that I could’ve done more. My only comfort is that she is with my father now. It’s so heartbreaking, I’m so sorry. I hope Pippin will live a long life. xoxo
Just found out today my Chihuahua (8 years old) has an enlarged heart. No fluid in lungs yet- just swollen heart.

Why I brought her to the vet:
She coughs after drinking water, when is seems she’s clearing her throat, when she’s super excited after making that awful honking noise and sometimes randomly through the day.

The vet seems to not be very concerned but just by looking at the X Ray, her heart was LARGE.

The vet said her heart should be 2.5 to 3 ribs wide and she was 4.5 ribs on both sides of her heart.

Her eating is normal, but she’s gained weight or is super swollen because of this issue.

I originally brought her in to the vet because of her honking and coughing- it has become way worse.

I’m worried after reading all of these people’s experiances that she will detoriate fast and I don’t believe my vet cares like he should.

Please I’d your baby sounds anything like mine, id love any advice.
My 15 year old mini dachshund Schnitzel has an enlarged heart. I saw the X-ray and his heart is huge. The vet is starting him on a diuretic. He sleeps a lot, but is a happy guy, who loves his food and being with me all day. I know he’s an elderly dog, but I’ve only had him 8 years and greedily hope for more quality time with him. Our female dachshund, Pixie, has a mild heart murmur but hasn’t had any effects from it so far. She is 10. I feel for everyone dealing with this. I am as stressed about their health issues and quality of life, as I was when my parents became ill and passed.
Hi there.

Just wanted to comment on here to let anyone who’s reading know, that if your dog ever exhibits any signs or symptoms of an enlarged heart, to seek medical attention.
My 13 year old chihuahua showed many signs and we took him to the vet and the on-call vet put him on antibiotics for a “cold”. and he said that he MAY have an enlarged heart. Yet he did nothing.
Not even a week has passed since we took him and my sweet boy passed away last night.
Please be on the lookout and take them in asap. This thread was the one that prepared me for the worst and I appreciate that more then anyone knows. My heart now feels the same pain as everyone else does.
please take care of yourselves as well.
My 10 almost 11 yr old dachshund has been coughing and clearing her throat every time she drinks water Vet has put her on 3 or 4 different meds. Nothing has worked today when I got up she was labor breathing I called vet right away. She was also born with a heart murmur. When I dropped her off today I noticed her belly also looks swell. I got a call from the vet a couple of hours ago and she took a x-ray and said enlarged heart that she would have to be put on different meds to help with the condition. I have been reading all the post and have realized that I will not have much more time with her and it is breaking my heart. I wished I knew this couple of months ago and we could have started her on the right meds then. So if anyone has a fur baby with this condition have your vet check them right away for enlarged heart. My heart is breaking but will enjoy every moment I have left with her.
To Ashley O: when I read your comment, it was like reading my own situation. While having my 4 year old chihuahua in for an exam prior to teeth cleaning, I brought up her constant honking/snorting and gagging after drinking water and running around. Almost like she has post nasal drip and constantly trying to clear it out. The vet said her lungs were clear and heart sounded good but he did an x-ray and it was discovered her heart was enlarged. I also was told about the rib measurement of 2 to 2-1/2 was normal and my dog was at 4. We went home with no medications or worries other than to bring her back in if she starts coughing. (I guess what she does now isn't considered coughing). While in the office, I didn't know entirely what an enlarged heart meant. Once I came home and read about it, I was heartbroken. I read 1-3 years life expectancy. So now I don't know if she was born with it and we are close to the end now or what. I think I need to have another chat with the doctor or find a new one.
I am so sorry for all of your sad stories. When we lose a furbaby we want to know WHY! I just experienced that in March. I lost my 16yr. old Yorkshire Terrier. She showed no signs of any problems and passed away in her sleep. I wanted to die, I Research Everything but my Son supported me, he understands the loss. I got him a Chocolate Lab when he was 4yrs Old. When Josh was 16 when he carried him to the car as we Hurried him to the emergency hospital Hershey was 12. Sadly I knew he was was dying because he had emptied his Bowles! He was an Angle! Josh had been over just two days prior and kept telling me every time I called him, there was No Way I could have known anything was wrong with her because she acted like a puppy until she passed. When he was over, she acted just like she always did, she ran up to him, kissed his whole face and when he finally put her down she wanted to play, she ran around wagging her tail that shook her whole body. He gets very involved with my dogs, he lived with me 13yrs. Of her life and I called him her Boy! She had two litters and we kept her first born Son, Bailey. He helped with some of my pain! I felt like she wanted me too concentrate on him, which was easy because he felt the loss as well, was already a Momma’s Boy. And Fergie treated him like her Baby until she passed, cleaning his face everyday and making sure he was a good boy. Unlike my Girl Fergie♥️ Her Son Bailey coughs after he drinks water does cough when he runs around which is only when he thinks I’m headed for the kitchen 😊 I was concerned.
With my loss I wanted Bailey looked at because he’s going to be 12 in February. I took him to our Vet who treated him after he and his sister were born. He, unlike his mother gets very stressed on car rides and was Panting so badly the Vet was unable to hear his heart. She took an ex-ray. It showed a collapsed trachea, and it showed that half his heart was enlarged. This was just yesterday, she referred me to a Cardiologist, we go Tomorrow.
Question; Has Anyone that’s seen the ex-Ray Seen Half Your FurBabies Heart Enlarged? If do, what did the Cardiologist Say?
I’ve told myself I wasn’t going to get ahead of the Diagnosis. But After reading your Heartbreaking Stories my Heart Feel Weak! The Thought Of Losing My Bailey, so close to losing my Fergie I am at a loss! 😢
Barb, Yes a humidifier does help with the coughing and breathing. I would also suggest to those on here to look up Bio-Cardio made by Thorne supplements for dogs. It's highly praised for many heart conditions in dogs, not sure about cats though. My mom has her 13 years young Doxie on it for a diagnosed heart murmur, and after a few months on it, vet was virtually unable to detect the murmur. We give Jesus the glory!!!
Our 12 year old chihuahua had an x-ray after he starting coughing a lot. Initially we thought it was a collapsing trachea but the x-ray showed his heart was 1/3 larger than normal. We immediately took him off dry kibble and started excellent home cooking vet approved recipes. As well we add in freeze dried raw at each meal that has fine ground bone (so no risk of tearing GI tract) and organ meats. He is on a weak diuretic and low dose Vetmedin.

After 1 month of awesome human grade vet approved meals (Brown rice, ground turkey thighs, lean beef, kidney, spinach,grated carrots, correct amount of bone meal, small amount of uncooked powdered home ground sunflower seed meal, plus a touch of dulse) and careful supplementation of the amino acid Taurine and other whole food supplements like *gently *cooked chicken hearts according to his weight, he looks *fantastic*, is playing more again and is coughing much less. I think we caught it just in time. In my mind the key is diet. Kibble, while it may be nutritionally complete, imho, nothing beats whole fresh foods carefully balanced for a dogs needs, and some clean raw ingredients that is carefully added in.

I also have high regard for Bio Cardio, and apply many of the ingredients it contains.
My dog Luke is 14 and has enlarged HEART and liver. He is on lasix and enapril. THEY said he has 2 years at the most. That was last year.
It’s sad to read all these stories😩 my 12 yo male toy poodle had a mild heart murmur we kept eye on it then this April he started coughing an panting an tiring out more. Took to vet they found enlarged heart ! So he was put on 3 meds .heart med , bp , lasix . He was much improved an back to normal. Sept 17 he woke up an threw up twice so next day he was no better took him to vet he had mild case of Pancreatitis so more meds well my Sunday he was not doing good. My poor buddy was really sick I stayed up all night with him . Took him to vet Monday told me he was in critical condition an admitted him to the hospital said he was in renal failure! What a shock his kidneys were only 25 % working so they told me they were going to try an put him thru this. We went up Tuesday after more labs done which improved slightly he was so sad an so sick but lifted his head up to see us. They told us with medicine he might last a month so we made the hardiest decision to put him to sleep. I truly believe all his heart medicine caused some of the kidney failure from all research I’ve done. Sadly my vet never told me that. I just feel guilty an heartbroken. It’s been a month today my baby has been gone. I have a 14 Yo f toy poodle who is so sad an lost like me. So for future , check side effects on medication vets give u.
My 14 year old shitzu/dachshund was just diagnosed with an enlarged heart and fluid in his lungs. He’s on Diuretic and heart meds. I find for that cough I give him a children’s benedryl every 6 hours. Also a product called throat gold twice a day. It soothes his throat. Well worth every penny to keep him going. Good luck.
12 Years
Has An Enlarged Heart
Swollen abdominal area
Labored breathing

3 of my poms have been diagnosed with enlarged heart over the years. 2 have passed on and now princess. All were seniors when rescued from bad situations. The loss of every one is so hard. But we will continue to rescue. Vet says Pomeranian are prone to the condition. Treatment and love for what time is left.

3 years, 12 months ago
Hi there,
I’m so very sorry to hear about your pom’s condition. I’m always so appreciative to hear about owners who take in rescues. You’re amazing! I have a 14 year old yorkie mix that has been diagnosed with an enlarged heart and CHF. She is still so full of life and has a terrific appetite but also has a nagging cough and difficulty catching her breath. She is on Medication and a diuretic. May I ask if there is anything you noticed that eases your pom’s discomfort? This is my first dog and the experience is really heart breaking right now. I just don’t want her to suffer. Any advice would be so appreciated.
my joes cardiologist also added to his regemin low salt diet and fish oil, said can put oil in his food. He is on 4 meds and is still coughing, vet increased vetiman to 3x a day to help drain fluid. His chf was caused by a heart murmur he was born with, he is 14 yrs old, but looks like its going to vet more often and overnite stays in oxygen tank. not sure if i should keep it going if it is going to be a long suffering ahead. He still eats well and seems to be normal except will not lay on his back which is his fav position to sleep. feel so bad for him.
He is suffering............................Living for you. Ask yourself if you would want to live your last years like this. I am doing my best to deal with whether to have my dog euthanized at 13 1/2 or go through this. I am going to lose her in the end anyway. Why prolong it?
Sorry to hear about princess’s heart condition. My 13 1/2 beagle was just diagnosed w enlarge heart and fluid in lungs and around the heart . we opted on not seeing a cardiologist and just starting her on meds. Hard to give them to her though. I’m not sure how long she will last like this.
What type of humidifier did you get?
Try a humidifier and Thorne Bio-Cardio supplement. My moms 13 years young Doxie went back to the vet, after a few months the vet has been unable to detect the murmur. Of course, we give the Lord the glory!! Check it out, those on here, and always check with your vet. It has great reviews!
Charle winthorpe belevedere paceway iii
10 Years
Has An Enlarged Heart

He's got the indomitable spirit of a Lion and is one-tough-little-S-O-B! We've also had an x-ray and are starting him on a course of medications with diet and exercise adjustments.

3 years, 11 months ago
18 Years
Shih Tzu
Has An Enlarged Heart

Not sure

3 years, 11 months ago
My baby boy is 6 and we just found out about he's a shitzu to
Found out today our Shih Tzu, Abby, has an enlarged heart. She is 15. We will be going to a cardiologist for a sonogram this week so we can identify the cause and medicate her. My wish is that I can hold her here with me as long as she is comfortable.
My Shitzu / Beaseu mix was healthy, healthy, healthy as we would take long pulls (him on me) around the block and local areas. He lived for the walks and truck rides. I went out of my way to accommodate his passion for long adventures thinking all the while it was good for him. Then in August of 2018 he was slow to recover and I noted heavy constant breathing almost as though he was not getting oxygen. After a cautious delay I knew something was wrong and took him early a.m. to the hospital as his condition worsened overnight. Yep, Enlarged heart with fluids. I was in shock. How could this example of health be in risk of heart failure and death within 4 -12 months. We were prescribed the big three, Vetmedin, Enalapril and a diuretic for fluids. He still outwardly anticipated our shortened walks until he got excited over another dog and standing on his hinds suddenly collapsed, stiffened and began yelping in pain... a heart attack. I performed CPR on him and wrapped him up in a mad dash for home. After several hours he was up and gingerly getting around. Another trip to the vet and an adjustment to his medications I thought we were OK but the heart attacks became more frequent and if not for my quick response and CPR he wouldnt have made it thru more than ~ 10 times over the next 12 months. I also found a second hand oxygen generator which we made use of numerous times. We searched hi and low and incorporated Taurine, Amino Acids, Vitamin B12 and added Omega 3s to his diet while chasing salt out. I was able to revive him multiple times, administer oxygen and he would recover in hours but each episode took a little more from him until he could no longer go outside by 12 months later, absolutely heartbreaking from his previous self. We were graced with 12 months more and 2 big car trips but although I knew it invigorated his mind it also drained his energy. I look back now and offer some things I would have done different: 1) I was distrusting of dry dog foods and tried to add skinned cooked chicken for supplement... his favorite.. but it was probably full of salt. Salt constricts you blood vessels and works the heart harder to over come the obstruction. I should have worked harder to eliminate it earlier as much as I did later... and thats not just about dogs.. read your labels some times of the Salt content of people food. 2) Our long excursions were probably fine when he was young but was too much after 6 years old. If your pet has been diagnosed immediately restrict their physical activity. Their heart is a big muscle that has been overworked for long periods.. its going to take longer periods of rest to be able to recover that over taxed muscle if its not too far gone now. 3) I should have taken earlier note of his coughing episodes early on from a puppy and then should have understood the implication of the vet advising against teeth cleaning because of a heart murmur. All early opportunities of earlier intervention. 4) I felt so much sympathy for my best friend but in reality he had no understanding of his condition and I should have been more assertive in control over his activities. Again we were graced with 12 more months together. But watching him succumb was very difficult. My heart goes out to each of you dealing with this condition. I believe there is a common cause because if you look how muscles normally recover and how this condition seems to be a switch that cant be reversed something doesn't add up. Be Brave, Be Humble.
Thank you so very much for these hints. We are in Florida where the hot climate in the summer limits what we can do safely with our dog. Our long haired Chi has a grade 5 heart murmur and enlarged heart. He is taking Enacard 2.5 and Vetmedin presently. I am adding grains back into his diet even though his Wellness Core Senior food has Taurine and vitamins in it. He is 14 years old and still very gorgeous although loosing some eyesight due to cataracts. His vet has known him since he was a baby so they are very good with him and they are educated at Cornell Veterinary College. They did suggest no surgery on anything at his age and because of the murmur.I am so sorry you lost your dog but you have been so helpful with giving these hints to those of us who are going through the same situation that you went through. I hope only the best for all of the furbaby lovers and the furbabies out there.
11 Years
Shih Tzu
Has An Enlarged Heart

She didn't survive. I was looking on here to see what signs I missed. She had none of the signs. She started having distress on Saturday evening and passed on Monday morning. I was devastated. The vet said she died of congested heart failure.

3 years, 11 months ago
My 7 year old Yorkie, Sam a rescue died on Monday, November 5, 2018. I never knew he had an enlarged heart. Death was due to aspiration pneumonia. His Heart was pressing into his chest and airway. With or without oxygen administered did not allow the oxygen level to stabilized . His lungs were filled with fluid. My heart was torn apart - such a horrific pain. Sam distress came Saturday morning and he was gone on Monday. I am tormented that had I known or informed by my Vet, I would had changed whatever to keep him with me.
9 Years
Bichon Frise
Has An Enlarged Heart

We are in the early stages of diagnosis. X-rays determined enlarged heart. Awaiting blood lab results before medication regiment is prescribed. Not certain what the future holds. My very active, loving dog is not herself. She is actually a Bichon Papillon mix.

3 years, 11 months ago
Blood work showed she also has digestive issues including liver and possibly pancreas. She is on petmedin twicedaily and Prilosec. Returns next month for repeated blood work. She lost almost a pound in 10 days. She weighs 14 #.
I also have a Bichon and he was just diagnosed with an enlarged heart and a heart murmur- How is your dog doing? I am so worried that I am just prolonging the inedible. what meds are you giving Cassie?
Mimi la rue
12 Years
Shih Tzu
Has An Enlarged Heart

Not sure

3 years, 11 months ago
I would suggest a humidifier and look at Thorne Bio Cardio supplement for pets. It's highly regarded and has helped my moms 13 year old dachshund reverse a murmur to basically undetectable. God has been so faithful and good!! Always run it by your vet too.
Lady belle
8 Years
Has An Enlarged Heart

I'm not sure

3 years, 11 months ago
10 Years
Shih Tzu
Has An Enlarged Heart

Lilly was diagnosed about 8 months ago. The Vet said she as not ready to be put on medication yet. If properly taken care of she could live several more years. She is extremely active, but seems to sleep a little more.

3 years, 11 months ago
Our Mani was diagnosed with a heart murmur during his wellness check shortly after we adopted him. At the time, he also had kennel cough (from being in the shelter) so there were no obvious symptoms. We've had him 8 months now and there are fires in the area creating smoke that we thought contributed to more coughing and gagging than usual. Took him to vet and x-rays show enlarged heart. However, his heart rhythm is normal and there is no fluid in his lungs, so no meds at this time. I am feeling as though there is nothing we can do for him but love and best care possible.
Try a humidifier and check out Bio Cardio by Thorne supplements for dogs. It's great for murmurs. Full of taurine, coq 10, vitamin e, and so much more for doggie hearts. Always check with your vet first but it has excellent reviews. God bless!
11 Years
Has An Enlarged Heart
heart murmu
had EGG
has Mitral valve disease

breaths are normal at 23 bpm, lungs clear

3 years, 10 months ago
My chihuahua has the same thing and looks exactly like your dog. He is 14. 1/2. His name is sterling. He is on 3 meds a day now. We took him in bc of the choking and gagging. Send me your email and I can send u a pic. It’s crazy how similar they look.
I just found out today my chihuahua has enlarged heart and he coughs about once a day somedays twice the vet gave me hydrocodone a quarter of 5 mg as needed I will find out blood test tomorrow and I have to ask a lot of questions after reading these comments love to all of you and Your family
My 15 year-old chihuahua was just diagnosed with an enlarged heart via an x-ray. She is coughing a lot and my vet also has her on hydrocodone which has helped a little. She wants her to have an echocardiogram before treating the heart. Isn't there any medication they can try without the echocardiogram? I just want her to be comfortable. I realize this is the beginning of the end.
I am so sorry but grateful to read and learn from you all. My beautiful boy OB will be 16 in November. He has grade 3 heart murmur, an enlarged heart and fluid in his lungs. Last night he coughed all night and breathing was labored. This morning he is calm, ate breakfast and is resting. He is on Lasix,spirolactone and theophylline. I stayed dressed last night because I was sure we would be taking him to the emergency vet. OB is my first dog and I do not want him to suffer. He is very very handsome and his graying face just adds to more. Damn it.
my 15 year old chihuahua was just diagnosed today with and enlarged heart. I took her to the vet last week for a constant cough, they put her on antibiotics. Took her back today and got the diagnosis. Put her on a Diuretic and was told she didn't have long to live. They want to see her again next week. Trying to decided if I am being fair to put her through this or would it be better to put her down, her quality of life is not there any more. Does nothing but sleep, pee and cough.
My Chihuahua is almost 20, if you want to keep your dog happy just get him the meds. And my best suggestion is not give up. If your dog has a will to protect you they will fight. But you should always watch for the signs. Her life's not over you should encourage her to walk and you probably might have to rest with her, but that little hope is the best you can do. Take her to the vet keep her monitor but don't loose hope, is all I can say.
Try a humidifier and Bio Cardio by Thorne pet supplements. My moms 13 years young Dachshund was diagnosed with a heart murmur. After a few months on this, it is basically undetectable the vet said. God has been good!! Always check with your vet first. Best wishes and God bless!
My little one was diagnosed 2 yrs ago, he is 13 yrs old this October. He has been on 3 meds for 2 yrs, recently i took him to his vet and sadly she said he would probably have less than a year of life, this broke my heart to pieces, im still hopefull that he will make it through. Any advice from anyone going through this.