Review and Retrospective Study of Ventricular Septal Defect in Dogs
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The Ventricular Septal Defect is not very common, although it is one of the three most common congenital heart defects reported in dogs. In 8 years only 22 dogs with a VSD were seen at the Utrecht University Companion Animal Clinic (UUCAC). Little is known about the prognosis of a dog with a VSD. The aim of this study is to give a review of former studies about dogs suffering from a VSD. The 22 dogs diagnosed with a VSD in the UUCAC from 2004 to 2012 and several (surgical) treatments will will be described. The aim of collecting as much useful information as possible about these patients is to give a completer image of a dog’s future with a VSD. Collecting the data of these dogs is done by using the ‘Vetware’-database and interviewing the owners/veterinarians. Most VSD’s are small and do not cause any physical problems. However, if a VSD is big and stays untreated; secondary problems may develop. Unfortunately most VSD’s are located close to the valves and make it technically impossible to close the defect. In former studies a predisposition to VSD was found in several breeds. This is not confirmed or denied in the study from UUCAC because the group of 22 dogs was too small. The fact that the occurrence of the VSD is almost equally divided between the sexes is found in all reviewed studies. A VSD is often seen in combination with one or more other (congenital) heart defect(s). So it is recommendable to perform a complete and precise (Doppler) echocardiography (by a veterinary specialist in cardiology) to confirm the diagnosis. The prognosis of a dog with a VSD seems to be good. Seventeen of the 22 dogs are still alive ;1 dog is lost in follow-up. Sixteen of them never had, or still (at time of interviewing) do not have any clinical problems. The death of the 4 dogs could not directly be linked to their VSD. It is important to recognize a VSD at an early age. This could optimize the medical care (if needed), and a dog with a congenital heart defect should be excluded for breeding because there could be a heredity factor. Unfortunately there was not enough data to make reliable statistical calculations about the prognosis of VSD in dogs. To know more, there should be a follow up study in a couple of years (when the last dog is not alive anymore) with a higher number of dogs included.