What Are the Latest Recommendations?

2009 ACVIM Guidelines for the Diagnosis and Treatment of Valvular Heart Disease

The latest guidelines created a whole new classification system to describe the four basic stages of heart failure in dogs:

  • Stage A includes dogs at high risk for developing heart disease but currently show no obvious signs

  • Stage B includes dogs that have a heart murmur but have not developed other signs of heart failure

  • Stage C is for dogs that are showing visible signs of heart failure or have shown signs in the past. These dogs are recommended to receive standard therapy for heart failure. Click here to learn about standard therapy.

  • Stage D is reserved for dogs that are not responding to standard therapy and need advanced treatment options

Your vet can use this system to determine whether your dog has heart disease and how far along his or her disease has progressed. The guidelines also list treatment options that are appropriate at each stage.

If you have a dog that is at risk for heart disease, the guidelines encourage you to bring him or her to a vet for a screening. The experts stress the importance of diagnosing dogs at risk of heart failure as early as possible, sometimes even before symptoms develop.

Heart Health Tips

Maintain proper body weight for your dog. Being overweight makes the heart work harder.

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Is Your Dog at Risk of CHF?

Learn more about the risk factors for your dog.