"Heart disease" is actually one name for many different types of disorders of the heart.
Heart disease is common in dogs. It is estimated up to 60 percent of aging dogs have a heart problem.
In our canine companions, heart disease is either acquired or congenital, with the vast majority – about 95 percent – in the acquired category.
Acquired heart disease can be brought on by normal aging, injury or infection, and is usually seen in middle aged and older dogs. Acquired disorders involve either the muscle itself or the valves of the heart.
Congenital heart defects – a heart condition present at birth -- are relatively rare in the canine population. These can include heart murmurs, which young dogs often outgrow, or problems in the development of a specific part of the heart, or even small holes in the heart muscle.
The impact of a congenital heart problem on a dog's quality and length of life is directly related to the severity of the condition.