Heart Disease in Dogs and Cats: Normal Heart Function

Understanding the basic structure and function of the heart will allow better insight into how

heart diagram

VC– Vena Cava, RA– Right Atrium, RV– Right Ventricle, PA– Pulmonary Artery, PV– Pulmonary Vein, LA– Left Atrium, LV– Left Ventricle

diseases of the heart can affect your pet’s health.

Below is a video of the normal human heart which is very similar to the dog or cat heart.

Blood returning from the body is collected in the right atrium before entering the right ventricle through the open tricuspid valve. The right ventricle then pumps the blood out through the then open pulmonic valve through the pulmonary artery to the lungs. Meanwhile the tricuspid valve closes preventing retrograde (backflow) flow of blood. After the carbon dioxide is removed and the blood is re-oxygenated it is transported via the pulmonary veins to the collecting chamber called the left atrium.

Then, similar to the right heart, the blood is transported through the mitral valve into the powerful left ventricle. When the left ventricle is full and begins to contract, the mitral valve closes, and blood is ejected through the now open aortic valve to the aorta and to the systemic circulation. After delivering oxygen to the tissues and accumulating carbon dioxide, the blood completes the cycle back to the right atrium again.

Right Atrium Tricuspid Valve →Right Ventricle  Pulmonic Valve Pulmonary Artery Lungs (oxygenation) Pulmonary Veins Left Atrium  Mitral Valve Left Ventricle  Aortic Valve Aorta Tissues (oxygen delivery) Systemic Veins  Right Atrium

 

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Dr Roger Johnson and Dr Kyle Marano

Roger K. Johnson, DVM, Diplomate ACVIM (internal medicine) is a board-certified veterinary internal medicine specialist. His professional interests include cardiology as well as using advanced diagnostics to help his patients. His particular favorites include echocardiography, abdominal ultrasonography, and endoscopy. Kyle Marano, DVM is a small animal veterinarian practicing out of Northern Colorado. He has written pieces ranging from sports commentary and analysis to quips on the every day life of veterinary medicine. His furry family includes a chocolate lab mix and an overly nosy cat.

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