Heart Problems in German Shepherds | Heart Valve Malformations | Atrioventricular Valve Dysplasia (AVD) | Tricuspid Valve Dysplasia | Mitral Valve Dysplasia
German Shepherd heart problems also include heart valve malformations, specifically Atrioventricular Valve Dysplasia (AVD), Tricuspid Valve Dysplasia, and Mitral Valve Dysplasia. And while aortic stenosis refers specifically to problems with the aorta’s connection to the heart, other forms of heart disease in German Shepherd dogs affect entirely different regions of the heart. If the mitral or tricuspid valves are malformed, the dogs are considered to be suffering from AVD, an umbrella term that refers to Atrioventricular Valve Dysplasia – or a wide range of malformations. If the valve is insufficiently narrow then the atrium area on the same side of the heart as the afflicted valve will become dilated, causing the ventricle area to enlarge. This excess of volume in the ventricle will cause blood to either build up excess fluid in the lungs as a result of malformation in the mitral valve, or else leak into the body as a result of a malformation in the tricuspid valve. Yet if the valve is too narrow, then stenosis will take place, and the atria will dilate and the ventricle, by contrast, will shrink. This can cause serious problems either in the mitral valve, affecting blood flow to the lungs (where it is oxygenated) or else in the tricuspid valve, which sends blood all over the body, affecting circulation overall. Male animals tend to be at a higher risk than female animals for this condition, which is congenital in nature.