Canine Cardiac Tumors | Cardiac Tumors in Dogs

Canine Cardiac Tumors | Cardiac Tumors in Dogs

Although the overall prevalence of cardiac tumors is low, the increased use of echocardiography has made their antemortem diagnosis more common. Cardiac tumors in dogs can cause several clinical signs. It appears that cardiac tumors of all types, occur at a rate of about 0.19%. Dogs with cardiac tumors tend to be middle-aged or older. Over 85% of affected dogs are between 7 and 15 years of age; however, very old dogs (more than 15 yo) have a surprisingly low prevalence. Reproductive status influences the relative risk for cardiac tumors in dogs, despite a similar frequency of occurrence in males and females overall. Neutered dogs have a greater relative risk, especially spayed females, which have a four to five times greater risk than intact females. Intact and neutered males also have a greater risk than intact females. Certain breeds have a higher prevalence of cardiac tumor in dogs - compared to the general population.

By far the most commonly reported cardiac tumor in dogs is hemangiosarcoma. Most are located in the right atrium and/or right auricle; some also infiltrate the ventricular wall. Hemangiosarcomas commonly are associated with hemorrhagic pericardial effusion and cardiac tamponade. Metastases have frequently occurred by the time of diagnosis. Golden Retrievers, German Shepherds, Afghan Hounds, Cocker Spaniels, English Setters and Labrador Retrievers, among others, are at higher risk for this tumor.

Masses at the heart base are the second most frequently reported cardiac tumors in dogs. They are usually neoplasms of the chemoreptor aortic bodies, ectopic thyroid tissue, or ectopic parathyroid tissue, or are mixed-cell type. Heart base tumors tend to be locally invasive around the root of the aorta and surrounding structures; metastases to other organs have been reported but are rare. Clinical signs associated with heart base tumors are usually related to the development of pericardial effusion and cardiac tamponade. Other primary tumors involving the heart are rare in dogs but have included myxoma, intracardiac ectopic thyroid tumors, including lymphoma, other sarcomas and various carcinomas.

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