Ty is an older dog who showed up in our office with a cough shortly after being at a kennel. Our first thought was that she had acquired a respiratory infection common after exposure to other dogs. When her cough persisted, we were convinced it was far more serious. She had a slight heart murmur, but the owner was not aware of any other symptoms of heart disease.
The normal procedure for a dog with suspected heart disease is to take radiographs and an electrocardiogram looking for heart enlargement. Some dogs and cats require an ultrasound exam to further investigate their heart function.
Ty has mitral valve disease, also called degenerative valve disease. She is still alive years after her disease was diagnosed and doing as well as she can for her age on medication.