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Literally, this means sick heart muscle.  The most common form is Dilated Cardiomyopathy, in which the chambers of the heart are enlarged.  This stretches the muscle walls of the heart to be far thinner than they should be.  This can cause Congestive Heart Failure and has a high mortality rate.  Larger breeds are more prone to this than smaller dogs, with some breeds being particularly prone: Afghan Hound, American Cocker Spaniel, Boxer, Dalmatian, Doberman Pinscher, English Cocker Spaniel, Great Dane, Irish Wolfhound, Newfoundland, Old English Sheepdog, Portuguese Water Dog, Scottish Deerhound, St Bernard.  Symptoms can include:

  • Reduce Exercise Tolerance
  • Rapid Exhaustion
  • Excessive Panting
  • Coughing
  • Heart Murmur
  • Irregular Heart Rhythm
  • Fainting
  • Fluid Accumulation in the Heart
  • Lung Congestion
  • Sudden Death