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What is Heart Disease?
Heart (cardiovascular) disease is any condition of the heart or blood vessels that disrupts the normal function of the heart and vasculature to deliver oxygenated blood to the body. Heart diseases can be congenital (i.e. present from birth) or acquired (i.e. occur later in life). Many heart diseases in animals are heritable (passed on through generations). Heritable heart diseases can be congenital or acquired. Often, heritable heart diseases occur with a higher prevalence in certain breeds of animals.
A principal function of the Cardiology service is to determine an accurate diagnosis of the type of heart disease present. Once a diagnosis is established, available treatment options and prognosis can be discussed.

Types of Heart Disease

Many types of heart diseases occur in animals. Some of the more common are:
  • Congenital Heart Defects:
    • Patent ductus arteriosus (PDA): persistent fetal vessel connecting the aorta and pulmonary arter
    • Ventricular septal defect (VSD): hole in the heat
    • Pulmonic stenosis (PS): narrowing of the pulmonic valve
    • Subvalvular aortic stenosis (SAS): narrowing below the aortic valve
    • Tricuspid valve dysplasia (TVD): malformation of the tricuspid valve
  • Mirtra Valve dysplasia (MVD): malformation of the mitral valve 
  • Valve Disease:Mitral Valve Disease: degeneration of the mitral valve leading to severe valve regurgitation (leak). This is the most common heart disease in dogs.
  • Cardiomyopathies: diseases of the heart muscle:
    • Dilated cardiomyopathy: progressive dilation and weakness of the heart muscle 
    • Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy: thickening of heart wall 
    • Boxer arrhythmogenic cardiomyopathy: causes serious arrhythmias in boxers
  • Cardiac Arrhythmias:  
    • Bradycardias: abnormally slow heart rhythms 
    • Trachycardias: abnormally fast heart rhythms
  • Pericardial Effusion: fluid accumulation in the heart sac (pericardium)


 Stray animal policy


Stray animal policy

If you find a stray animal, please call the
Larimer Humane Society, 3501 E​. 74th St., Loveland, (Map​​), (970) 226-3647.

Please DO NOT bring stray animals to the hospital during these hours:
Monday-Friday 8 a.m.-6 p.m.
Saturday-Sunday 8 a.m.-4 p.m.

The hospital will accept stray animals when the Humane Society is closed:
Monday-Friday 6 p.m.-8 a.m.
Saturday-Sunday 4 p.m.-8 a.m.​​​


Contact Us:
Colorado State University
Veterinary Teaching Hospital
300 West Drake Road
Fort Collins, Colorado, 80523

(970) 297-5000

(970) 297-1205

(970) 297-5000
Cardiology Message Line:
(970) 297-0389 (non-emergencies)