14 Discuss The Differences Between The Livers Of Domestic Animals A History of Congenital Heart Disease in the American Staffordshire Terrier

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A History of Congenital Heart Disease in the American Staffordshire Terrier

An American Staffordshire Terrier is not one of the healthiest and heartiest of dog breeds, and unfortunately the dog has a tendency to suffer from several congenital health conditions. Some of the medical conditions were not known to cause serious health problems until recently. Veterinary medicine has found that the American Staffordshire Terrier is prone to suffer from certain congenital conditions which are classified as heart disease, especially congenital heart disease. The condition is referred to as CHD, it is present from the moment the puppy is born; it differs from acquired heart disease, which is a condition that develops later in life. While CHD is rare, it can lead to serious heart failure and death in the dog.

Heart failure results when the heart is unable to meet the body’s demands for blood because it cannot pump normally. The pumping problem can result in a pooling of blood in other vital organs of the body and can also involve the lungs and heart. The blood vessels are narrowed and the dog usually experiences an increase in blood pressure. When there is pressure from the blood in the blood vessels, fluid can leak and collect in the body tissues and the lungs can become congested, which can also happen to the liver. The signs of CHD can be difficult to identify especially when they appear in the early stages. Dogs may become inactive and may cough after a period of heavy activity; these can be warning signs of CHD. A dog may also become lethargic, lose weight, pass out, pant rapidly and display a bloated belly when suffering from CHD. Sometimes CHD can cause a fluctuation in blood flow through the heart, and a vet may hear murmurs when listening to a dog’s chest area with a stethoscope.

A septal defect is a condition in which there is a hole in the heart, meaning there is a passageway between the chambers of the heart that does not close after the dog is born. There are a large number of other types of congenital defects that can affect an American Staffordshire Terrier, which can lead to fatality. If a heart disease is suspected, the dog should be immediately sent to the veterinarian for examination. An owner should be aware of the fact that an American Staffordshire Terrier can also die without showing any outward signs of CHD or other congenital heart conditions. Regular veterinary check-ups should always be done to monitor or detect any hidden defects the dog may have and could result in saving the dogs life.

There are a number of conditions that are considered CHD. One example is a condition called Patent Ductus Arteriosus, which occurs when the small blood vessels that connect the two main arteries in the heart do not close after the dog is born. The small blood vessel is essential during fetal development because it bypasses the immature lungs which are not yet able to oxygenate the blood properly. When the vessel stays open after the dog is born, the condition stops the blood from circulating normally. Another condition is called pulmonary stenosis, which results in blood from the right side of the heart not being able to flow normally to the lungs because of the narrowing. Perhaps the most common canine condition of all CHD defects would be aortic stenosis, which occurs when blood from the left side of the heart cannot reach the rest of the body.

While CHD cannot be prevented, with proper care and regular veterinary care, the condition can be detected early and possibly treated. CHD does not have to result in the death of the dog and some forms can be corrected through early medical intervention. You should never take any of the warning signs of CHD for granted and always make sure your pet gets the best veterinary care possible.

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