Disorder - Ventricular septal defectOrgan Systems Involved
A ventricular septal defect (VSD) is a hole or cleft in the muscular wall separating the two largest chambers of the heart, the left and right ventricles, giving rise to abnormal blood flow in the heart.
Signs of this disorder vary and largely depend on the size and location of the defect. Frequently there are no symptoms. Small defects may spontaneously close within the first two years of life and present few if any signs. Larger VSDs are more obvious and include difficulty breathing, coughing, reduced ability to exercise and in the extreme, sudden death due to an abnormal heart rhythm. Usually blood flows from the left to right hand side of the heart, and the blood draining from the general circulation is obstructed. The dog will develop a pot-bellied appearance due to fluid accumulation in the abdomen and an enlarged liver. If the condition progresses and blood flows from the right to the left-hand side of the heart via the hole, it bypasses the lungs, and blood with low oxygen levels will be pumped into the general circulation. Low oxygen levels are detected by a bluish tinge to the gums. Dogs with large VSDs are likely to die prematurely - as young as eight weeks of age.
Ventricular septal defect