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Ask Dr. Michael Salkin Your Own Question
Dr. Michael Salkin
Dr. Michael Salkin, Veterinarian
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 33318
Experience:  University of California at Davis graduate veterinarian with 45 years of experience.
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My dog has just been diagnosed with enlarged heart on right

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My dog has just been diagnosed with enlarged heart on right side. What is her life expectancy?
I'm sorry that your question wasn't answered in a timely manner. It's not an easy one to answer directly. Here's a primer for you... The heart's pumping action moves "used" blood that returns to the heart through the veins through the right atrium into the right ventricle. The right ventricle then pumps the blood back out of the heart into the lungs to be replenished with oxygen. Right-sided or right ventricular (RV) heart failure usually occurs as a result of left-sided failure. When the left ventricle fails, increased fluid pressure is, in effect, transferred back through the lungs, ultimately damaging the heart's right side. When the right side loses pumping power, blood backs up in the body's veins. This usually causes swelling or congestion in the legs, ankles and swelling within the abdomen such as the GI tract and liver (causing ascites). To determine life expectancy, then, we need to investigate why the left side of the heart failed in the great majority of cases. Myxomatous valve disease ("leaky valves"), cardiomyopathy (heart muscle disease), and advanced pulmonary disease are major considerations when prognosticating. A cardiac ultrasound (echocardiogram) can tell you what kind of structural damage exists, the extent of that damage, and how efficiently Keira's heart is working. It's the most direct manner in which to prognosticate. Which breed is Keira, please? Has her heart condition been identified? Please respond with additional information and further questions or concerns if you wish.
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