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Tetralogy of Fallot in Dogs

In dogs, Tetralogy of Fallot is a heart condition present at birth, characterized by four specific abnormalities: a hole between the two ventricles known as a ventricular septal defect, obstruction of blood flow through the pulmonary valve known as pulmonic stenosis, an overriding aorta, and thickening of the heart muscle in the right ventricle known as right ventricular hypertrophy.


  • Weakness
  • Fainting
  • Shortness of breath
  • Cyanosis


Tetralogy of Fallot is a congenital condition that is likely influenced by genetic factors. Keeshonds and English bulldogs are predisposed to this condition.


Your veterinarian will initiate the diagnostic process with a physical examination of your dog, which may detect a heart murmur. Routine blood tests may be advised. Your veterinarian will probably recommend radiographs (X-rays) of the heart, and an echocardiogram (ultrasonic study of the heart) will likely be necessary. Additional tests that may be considered include an electrocardiogram (ECG), pulse oximetry for measuring hemoglobin saturation, and/or angiocardiography.


It is crucial to impose exercise restrictions for dogs diagnosed with Tetralogy of Fallot to minimize the strain on the heart. Periodic phlebotomy may be required to maintain an appropriate packed cell volume. Palliative surgical procedures are recommended to enhance blood flow. Medications like propranolol may be useful in managing symptoms associated with this condition.

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