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A History of Congenital Heart Disease in the American Staffordshire Terrier
The American Staffordshire Terrier is not the healthiest and heartiest of dog breeds and unfortunately the dog is prone to some congenital health conditions. Some medical conditions were not known to cause serious health problems until recently. Veterinary medicine has discovered that the American Staffordshire Terrier suffers from certain congenital conditions classified as heart disease, specifically congenital heart disease. This condition, called CHD, is present from birth; This is different from acquired heart disease which is a condition that develops later in life. Although CHD is rare, it can lead to severe heart failure and death in dogs.
Heart failure results when the heart cannot meet the body’s blood needs because it cannot pump normally. Pumping problems can cause blood to back up to other vital organs in the body, including the lungs and heart. Blood vessels are constricted and usually the dog’s blood pressure rises. When blood vessels are under pressure, fluid leaks and can accumulate in body tissues and cause congestion in the lungs, which can also occur in the liver. Signs of CHD are difficult to recognize, especially when seen in the early stages. Dogs may become inactive and cough after periods of strenuous activity; These may be warning signs of CHD. A dog may also become lethargic, lose weight, faint, pant rapidly, and exhibit a bloated abdomen when suffering from CHD. Sometimes CHD can cause fluctuations in blood flow through the heart, and a veterinarian may hear a murmur when listening to a dog’s chest with a stethoscope.
A septal defect is a condition in which there is a hole in the heart, meaning there is a passage between the chambers of the heart that cannot close after the dog is born. There are a large number of other types of birth defects that can affect the American Staffordshire Terrier, which can lead to death. If heart disease is suspected, the dog should be taken to a veterinarian immediately for examination. Owners should be aware of the fact that American Staffordshire Terriers can die without showing any outward signs of CHD or other congenital heart conditions. Regular veterinary check-ups should always be done to check or detect any hidden defects in the dog and can save the dogs life as a result.
There are different conditions that are considered CHD. An example is a condition called patent ductus arteriosus, which occurs when the small blood vessels that connect the two large arteries in the heart do not close after a dog is born. The small blood vessel is vital during fetal development as it bypasses the immature lungs which cannot yet properly oxygenate the blood. When the blood vessel remains open after the dog is born, the condition prevents normal blood circulation. Another condition is called pulmonary stenosis, which is a narrowing of the right side of the heart that prevents blood from flowing normally to the lungs. Perhaps the most common canine condition of all CHD defects is aortic stenosis, which occurs when blood from the left side of the heart cannot reach the rest of the body.
Although CHD cannot be prevented with due diligence and regular veterinary care, the condition can be recognized early and possibly treated. CHD does not necessarily kill the dog, and some types can be corrected with early medical intervention. You should never take any warning signs of CHD for granted and always make sure your pet has the best veterinary care.
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#History #Congenital #Heart #Disease #American #Staffordshire #Terrier