Heart & Blood


Do Aussies get heart diseases?

Heart disease is rare in Aussies but there are a few things that occur from time to time.  The most frequently seen are two congenital heart vessel defects, patent ductus arteriosus (PDA) and persistent right aortic arch (PRAA.)  Older Aussies sometimes have mitral valve disease.  Adult Aussies occasionally will be diagnosed with subaortic stenosis (SAS) or dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM.)

Is it necessary to have Aussies routinely screened for heart problems?

Because heart issues are rare in the breed, there is no need for routine screening of all breeding dogs.  However, because PDA and PRAA are the most common heart issues in the breed, it is advisable to check all puppies to make sure they do not have murmurs.  This can be done as part of a routine puppy health check.  Not every murmur is a sign of PDA or PAA.  Some are benign and go away as the puppy grows.  If your vet suspects this may not be the case further testing may be necessary to determine the cause.

If an adult-onset heart disease is known to occur in a particular family of Aussies, screening of members of that family is advised.  Consult a veterinary cardiologist about the best way to proceed based on the specific disease at issue.  Have the OFA screening done as part of the process and mark the results “open” so they will be there to aid other owners and breeders in the future.