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There are many different types of Cardiac diseases believed to be caused by genetic factors.  Below you will find information on a few that have been reported in the Cane Corso.  Little is known as to the percentages of Corsos with cardiac problems due to the lack of testing on the breeders/owners part. 

OFA has a Cardiac Database that was developed to help gather data regarding congenital heart diseases in dogs and to identify unaffected and affected dogs.  Affected dogs should NEVER be used for breeding.   The test must be done annually (every 12 months).  The fee for the OFA evaluation is $15 per dog.  There is no charge for resubmitting or for affected dogs of any age

Cardiomyopathy

Cardiomyopathy is a condition that affects the heart muscle by causing inflammation and scarring which results in enlarging of the heart.  The chambers within the heart dilate and become less efficient in supplying the body and organs with blood, resulting in the heart muscle weakening.  In the end, the dog will develop congestive heart failure and die.

This condition is believed to be genetic but how it is inherited is not yet documented.  The clinical signs of a dog suffering from cardiomyopathy often appear over a few days.  The disease usually starts between two and five years of age but research has shown that male dogs usually don't show symptoms of the disease until sometime between five and eight years of age. Female dogs usually don't exhibit symptoms until they are between nine and twelve years of age. By the time the clinical signs appear the dog may already be in the stage of severe heart failure.

The following symptoms may indicate a developing heart problem.
Unexplained lethargy, weight loss, cough, exercise intolerance, shortness of breath and/or fainting. This condition is life threatening and you should consult a veterinarian immediately if your Corso exhibits any of these symptoms.

Sub-Aortic Stenosis (SAS)
by Jennie Bullock

Sub-Aortic stenosis is a common congenital (present at birth) defect, found most often in large dog breeds. This condition is an abnormal narrowing of the juncture between the left ventricle of the heart and the aorta. The narrowing is usually the result of a scar like tissue, which has formed a ring just below the aortic valve.

Sub-Aortic stenosis can be extremely difficult to diagnose. Due to the wide range of possible stenosis (narrowing) ranging from minor to severe, the impact upon the dogs overall health and symptoms will also present a wide range of possibilities. Affected dogs may have few or no clinical indications of this condition, or have a heart murmur; while some cases are victims of "sudden death."

The genetic factor(s) of SAS are not known as yet. It is believed to be a polygenetic condition, and therefore very difficult to eliminate from the gene pool. Only through the testing of all breeding stock and strict culling of positive animals and producers of positive animals are there hopes to eventually eliminate this condition.

Tricuspid Valve Dysplasia

The tricuspid valve is located between the right atrium and right ventricle of the heart. Consisting of three irregularly shaped flaps, the purpose is to control the backflow of blood from the right ventricle into the right atrium during contraction of the right ventricle. When the right ventricle contracts there is some blood, which will flow back into the atrium. It is this flow which pushes against the valvular flaps causing the valve to close.

During normal fetal development the tricuspid valve flaps are adhered to the septa (wall separating atrium from ventricle). As the fetal development progresses under normal circumstances the adhesive bonds holding the valve open will degenerate, allowing the valve flaps to move into their proper position.
One of the primary causes of tricuspid valve dysplasia, is the failure of the adhesive bonds to degenerate. This lack of degeneration can be partial or total in nature, and results in a range of right-side heart murmurs. Dependent upon the severity of the valvular deformation the work of the right side of the heart is increased. If the malformation is severe enough it can lead to enlargement of the right atrium and ventricle. Eventually congestive heart failure can result.

Symptoms of tricuspid valve dysplasia are dependent upon the extent of the malformation, but some of the most common symptoms are: fluid retention, cool extremities and exercise intolerance (possibly followed by collapse).

Tricuspid valve dysplasia in dogs is usually congenital (present at birth). Due to the fact that this condition (when it occurs) appears in several littermates, and tends to be more prevalent in some family bloodlines than others - it is suspected that the tendency to have this birth defect is hereditary. It is hoped that through screening of breeding stock and their lineage (parents, grandparents, littermates, aunts, uncles, etc.) efforts can be made to eliminate susceptible bloodlines from breeding programs.

The above two articles were generously supplied by BarkBytes.Com and they reserve all copyright to these articles. 

The following are a few links with more information on other Cardiac Diseases:

Cardiac Information

Mitral Valve Defects – a group of abnormalities of the mitral valve of the heart.
http://users.erols.com/thevet/html/body_mitral_valve_disease_and_heart.html
http://www.ovcnet.uoguelph.ca/ClinStudies/Courses/Public/Cardiology/welcome.htm
http://www.ovcnet.uoguelph.ca/ClinStudies/Courses/Public/Cardiology/welcome.htm

 

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