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Keywords:

  • Breed predisposition;
  • Canine;
  • Congenital heart defects;
  • Multiple heart defects;
  • Sex predisposition

Background: Knowledge of epidemiology is important for recognition of cardiovascular malformations.

Objective: Review the incidence of congenital heart defects in dogs in Italy and assess breed and sex predispositions.

Animals: Nine hundred and seventy-six dogs diagnosed with congenital heart disease (CHD) of 4,480 dogs presented to Clinica Veterinaria Gran Sasso for cardiovascular examination from 1997 to 2010.

Methods: A retrospective analysis of medical records regarding signalment, history, clinical examination, radiography, electrocardiography, echocardiography, angiography, and postmortem examination was performed. Breed and sex predisposition were assessed with the odds ratio test.

Results: CHD was observed in 21.7% of cases. A total of 1,132 defects were observed with single defects in 832 cases (85%), 2 concurrent defects in 132 cases (14%), and 3 concurrent defects in 12 cases (1%). The most common defects were pulmonic stenosis (PS; 32.1%), subaortic stenosis (SAS; 21.3%), and patent ductus arteriosus (20.9%), followed by ventricular septal defect (VSD; 7.5%), valvular aortic stenosis (AS; 5.7%), and tricuspid dysplasia (3.1%). SAS, PS, and VSD frequently were associated with other defects. Several breed and sex predispositions were identified.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance: The results of this study are in accordance with previous studies, with slight differences. The breed and sex predilections identified may be of value for the diagnosis and screening of CHD in dogs. Additionally, the relatively high percentage of concurrent heart defects emphasizes the importance of accurate and complete examinations for identification. Because these data are from a cardiology referral center, a bias may exist.