Last Updated on January 16, 2022 by Griselda M.
Enlarged heart in Yorkies is a common health problem, owners should understand the signs leading to it. To find them out, read this article!
As an owner, you should always know the leading genetic diseases that your breed carries. For Yorkies, heart diseases and health issues related to the cardiovascular system are often. So, you must understand the causes and symptoms and react accordingly.
We will cover everything you need to know about the most common heart-related problem, the enlarged heart in Yorkies. So, continue reading further!
Yorkie Heart Size Information
The size of the Yorkie Terrier heart can fluctuate between a range of numbers. But what are these numbers, and how do we measure a dog heart? Well, every owner can’t afford to do an echocardiogram and define the health issue of their Yorkie.
So, in the war with Congestive Heart Failure (CHF), two veterinarian doctors from the University of Pennsylvania came out with a metric, the Vertebral Heart Size (VHS). To that numbers, some veterinarians refer to a heart score.
Veterinarians use the VHS medical procedure to check the heart size of dogs and define whether they have a heart enlargement. When it comes to heart size and vertebral body length, there is a strong association.
It is critical to get a decent thoracic radiograph while doing a VHS measurement, which can be difficult and occasionally impossible. The heart should be in the middle of the radiograph.
The thoracic vertebral bodies can be foreshortened by films focused above the diaphragm or belly, causing the VHS to get a larger number output. The patient must stay still, and the radiograph should get done while the dog is inhaling deeply.
The dog must be in a nice straight lateral posture, although whether the lateral is right or left is irrelevant. Taking both laterals might be beneficial at times. The most prevalent lateral is the right side.
Yorkie VHS Procedure Explained
The Yorkie vertebral heart size procedure can go in the next steps:
- Look at the dog’s heart from the side.
- Measure the long axis, which is the length of the heart from the base to the apex (L), as well as the short axis, which is the width of the heart perpendicular to the length measurement, which is normally at the ventral margin of the caudal vena cava (S)
- Starting with the fourth vertebral body on the spine, scale these measures against the length of the vertebrae dorsal to the heart (T4)
- Count the vertebral bodies the length of the hearts has, and the breadth (S) measurement can accommodate. The vertebral bodies begin at the cranial endplate and include the disc space immediately to the end of the vertebrae.
- If the total of these two readings is greater than 10.5, the dog’s heart is most likely larger than normal. The average dog’s weight is between 8.4 and 10.5.
For Yorkies, there is an average of 9.7, so if the VHS number is above this mark, there is a good chance that your Yorkie has an enlarged heart.
What Is A Yorkie Congestive Heart Failure?
Congestive heart failure can be the cause of other cardiac diseases. When your dog’s heart has difficulties pumping blood to the rest of its body is the simple definition of congestive heart disease. Heart illness such as CHF can affect either one or both sides of the heart. It can develop slowly and take years to detect.
There are two types of congestive heart failure, left-side or right-side CHF. These two types differentiate by their symptoms. The left side type relates to a bad inflow of blood in the system. So, a sign that is leading to this condition is fluid in the chest and coughing.
The second type, the right-side type relates to a bad inflow of blood to the heart. So, the blood that didn’t inflow correctly to the heart gets pushed back, and stomach fluid can build up. Another symptom that relates to this type is swelling.
Congestive Heart In Yorkies – Symptoms And Causes
Consistent coughing followed by difficulty breathing is the most prevalent clinical symptom of congestive heart failure (CHF). That mostly relates to fluid accumulation in the lungs or the stomach. The enlarged heart of the Yorkie will also press on the trachea, irritating it and causing coughing.
Many Yorkies with CHF wear out more rapidly, have less stamina, and don’t play or walk as much as they used to. Coughing at rest or while sleeping, heavy panting, a loss of appetite, a large tummy, and pale or blue gums are all symptoms of heart failure.
Because of the consequences of CHF on various physiological systems, the Yorkies will have widespread weight loss and muscular atrophy. Notify your veterinarian right once if any of these symptoms appear in your Yorkie with a cardiac murmur.
Dog Enlarged Heart Life Expectancy
DCM in dogs can be progressive and incurable, depending on the underlying diagnosis. As a result, dogs with clinical indications of heart failure have a terrible long-term prognosis.
Follow-up exams are usually recommended by the veterinarian to monitor the disease’s progression. Your veterinarian might need thoracic radiography, blood pressure measurements, EKGs, and blood tests to get the correct evaluation.
You’ll also want to keep an eye on your dog’s general well-being and for any indicators of illness development, including difficulty breathing, coughing, fainting, lethargy, or a swollen belly.
Most dogs with enlarged hearts eventually decease to the condition, despite treatment and attentive care. Your veterinarian will provide you advice on your pet’s prognosis depending on the disease’s course at the time of diagnosis. Dogs with this illness are often given 6-24 months to survive.
Yorkshire Terriers are more badly affected by this disease and usually do not live for more than six months after being diagnosed. In this scenario, your veterinarian can offer treatment recommendations to make your dog as comfortable as possible.
Conclusion On Enlarged Heart In Yorkies
The enlarged heart condition is common in Yorkies. This disease mainly develops because of genetics. However, lack of nutrition and infections can also cause it. You must make regular veterinarian appointments with your Yorkie and check for causes leading toward this condition.
It’s not easy to have your Yorkie diagnosed with this condition, but as an owner, you must do everything to prolong their life expectancy. Keep an eye on the overall health of your Yorkie and provide it with a quality life.
If you have any other thoughts on this topic, comment below and share them with other Yorkie owners!