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Heart (Aortic) Valve Narrowing in Dogs




The treatment and management guidelines are controversial and vary among experts. However, most agree the aim of therapy is to treat the complications related to the defect. To truly “cure” the dog, open heart surgery is required to repair (valvuloplasty) or replace the valve. However, the prognosis of dogs that undergo surgery is not favorable, and therefore not usually attempted.


Catherization may also be used to widen the narrowed vessels, but the procedure does not demonstrate survival advantages for dogs with severe forms of the disease.


Typically, broad spectrum antibiotics are given to dogs with aortic stenosis due to the increased risk of developing bacterial infections in the heart.


Living and Management


The overall goal for you and the veterinarian is to minimize the dog's symptoms, prevent complications, and improve its quality of life. Activity should be immediately restricted to prevent complications (sometimes fatal) due to overexertion. Low sodium diets will also be recommended for dogs with congestive heart failure.


Affected animals shouldn’t allow breeding or preferably neutered. You’ll need to closely watch your dog at home for abnormal signs and inform the veterinarian immediately if and when they occur. Dogs with mild forms of aortic stenosis may live a “normal” lifespan without any treatment. However, those with severe forms of the defect have a poor prognosis, even with treatment. Regardless of the severity, many veterinarians will recommend against breeding an animal with this heart defect.



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