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Companion Animal Practice
Decision making in suspected congenital heart disease in dogs and cats
  1. Mike Stafford‐Johnson

    Mike Stafford‐Johnson graduated from Dublin in 1982 and spent many years in mixed practice both in the UK and abroad. He currently works at the Veterinary Cardiorespiratory Centre in Kenilworth, Warwickshire. He holds the RCVS diploma in veterinary cardiology and the RCVS certificate in small animal medicine.


CONGENITAL heart defects, such as subaortic stenosis, pulmonic stenosis and patent ductus arteriosus, are relatively common in dogs, but rarely seen in cats. Such defects are usually suspected following the detection of a heart murmur on cardiac auscultation. Pulmonic stenosis and patent ductus arteriosus may be palliated or repaired, respectively, using interventional catheterisation techniques or surgery and it is, therefore, particularly important to diagnose these defects at an early stage before severe clinical signs and/or heart failure develop. This article discusses how to recognise different types of murmur, and describes the diagnosis and management of suspected congenital cardiac defects in dogs and cats.

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