Ventricular Septal Defect in Dogs and Cats

Common info

Ventricular Septal Defect is a heart development disorder or an experience of a hole in ventricular septum during infancy which is congenital. This defect will cause the blood from both sides to combine, resulting in heart functioning disorder. The disease can found in dogs than in cats. If not treated, pets with such disorders may experience heart failures and premature deaths. The common symptoms found in a ventricular septal defect in dogs and cats include breathing difficulties, coughing, pale skin, and pale gum, etc.


Ventricular Septal Defect is a genetic disorder and is present at birth.


The development of a heart in mammal’s fetus begins with a division of a heart into 4 chambers to allow blood to circulate inside the body. And within a heart, there is a wall (septum) that separates between the upper-lower left-sided heart and the upper-lower right-sided heart. Normally, this septum will not leak.  However, if a heart development disorder experiences, a leak may occur, resulting in a combination of the blood from 2 different circuits, causing a larger amount of blood to flow into the lung and the heart to work harder at the same time.


  • Tired easily
  • Breathing difficulties
  • Exercise intolerance
  • Fainting
  • Coughing
  • Pale skin
  • Pale gum

The symptoms of ventricular septal defect in dogs and cats include breathing difficulties, tired easily, exercise intolerance, fainting, coughing, pale skin and gum due to the compression of the left ventricle and higher heart rate.

Treatment and Prevention

In the case of a small-sized hole, treatment may not require since no symptom will be present, and the pets having such disorders will be able to live their normal lives. On the other hand, if the hole is large, an urgent treatment will require, no matter if it is the diuretic or inotropic drugs, depending on the veterinarian’s consideration.  If medication alone does not work out, the Coronary Artery Bypass Graft Surgery may be essential, based on the condition that the affected pets must be at the age when they can tolerate the surgical wounds.

  1. Wagwalking | Ventricular septal defect puppies
  2. Petmd | Defect of the Ventricular Septum in Dogs
  3. Ashley B. Saunders, DVM, Justin A. Carlson, VMD, David A. Nelson, DVM, Sonya G. Gordon, DVM, DVSc and Matthew W. Miller, DVM, MS. 2013. Hybrid technique for ventricular septal defect closure in a dog using an AmplatzerR Duct Occluder II. Journal of Veterinary Cardiology.15:217-224.
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