Mitral Valve Disease in Dogs: All About It!

Mitral valve disease (MVD) is one of the most common heart diseases seen in senior dogs. This condition occurs when the mitral valve between the left atrium and ventricle becomes damaged or weakened, resulting in blood and fluid build-up regurgitation. In this blog post, we’ll take a closer look at what Mitral valve disease is, how it affects dogs, and what you can do.

What is Mitral Valve Disease?

Mitral valve disease is a heart condition that results when the mitral valve, which controls blood flow between the left atrium and left ventricle of the heart, doesn’t work correctly. This can cause blood to leak back into the left atrium, resulting in an increased workload for the heart and eventually leading to heart failure.

This type of disease is relatively common in dogs, especially older ones. It is because of several things, including genetics, infection, and other underlying conditions. Treatment options vary depending on the severity of the disease but may include medication, surgery, or lifestyle changes.

veterinarian for heart
Photo by Karsten Winegeart on Unsplash

Symptoms of Mitral Valve Disease

  • Coughing;
  • Difficulty breathing;
  • Fatigue;
  • Exercise intolerance;
  • Loss of appetite.

If your dog shows any of these symptoms, it’s essential to take them to the vet for an evaluation. This type of disease is often diagnosed with a combination of a physical exam, chest x-ray, and echocardiogram (ultrasound of the heart).

Causes of Mitral Valve Disease

There are many potential causes of mitral valve disease in dogs. One common cause is a condition known as mitral valve prolapse, which occurs when the leaflets of the mitral valve do not close properly. The motivation for a cause can be by a variety of factors, including genetics, infection, trauma, and certain medications.

Another common cause of this sort of disease is heartworm disease. This parasitic infection can damage the valves and lead to heart failure. Other potential causes include congenital disabilities, high blood pressure, and cancer.

mitral valve disease
Avalon Family Vet


There are many ways to treat this disease in dogs, and your veterinarian will determine the best course of treatment based on the severity of your dog’s condition. For mild cases of mitral valve disease, your dog may need to be monitored closely and given medication to help manage the symptoms.

More severe cases may require surgery to repair or replace the faulty valve. In some cases, a heart transplant may be necessary. Regardless of the treatment required, it is essential to work closely with your veterinarian to ensure that your dog receives the best possible care.


The best way to prevent this disease in dogs is to have regular checkups with your veterinarian and to catch the disease early. Mitral valve disease is progressive, meaning it worsens over time. It is essential to see it early to treat it and improve your dog’s quality of life. There are several things you can do to help prevent the progression of this disease:

– Feed your dog a healthy diet and make sure they get plenty of exercises.

– Keep their heart healthy by avoiding obesity, heartworm disease, and high blood pressure.

– If your dog has any risk factors for developing mitral valve disease (such as being a small breed dog), talk to your vet about starting them on preventive medication.

veterinarian dog
Photo by Hayffield L. on Unsplash


Mitral valve disease is a common and potentially serious condition in dogs. Early diagnosis and treatment can make a huge difference in your pet’s prognosis. It is essential to talk to your vet if you have any concerns at all. While there are no guarantees regarding animal health, being aware of this disease and its signs can be beneficial in helping you provide the best care possible for your beloved furry friend.

Also read: 7 Benefits Of Pets For Human Health And Wellbeing

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