Myocarditis is an inflammation of the heart muscle. It is an uncommon cause of heart disease in dogs. Myocarditis occurs with American trypanosomiasis, Lyme disease viral diseases including distemper, and bacterial, fungal, and protozoan infections.
One of the first signs of myocarditis is weakness and fainting caused by cardiac arrhythmias. It can also be suspected by the sudden appearance of congestive heart failure, along with abnormal findings on an ECG and echocardiogram.
If necessary, the diagnosis can be confirmed by a heart muscle biopsy. This must be done at a medical center.
Treatment is directed at improving the force of the heart muscle, controlling arrhythmias, and preventing the buildup of fluid in the lungs and abdomen. Many dogs benefit from the addition of taurine and/or carnitine to their diet. The prognosis for long-term survival is guarded. With excellent medical control, some dogs may live for a year or more. Death usually occurs as the result of a sudden cardiac arrhythmia. Some dogs will drop dead without any noticeable signs beforehand.
There is no prevention for this condition.
Please contact your veterinarian if you think your pet may have this condition.
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