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Cardio Heart

Maltipoo Cardiomyopathy (heart problems)

Overview of Maltipoo Cardiomyopathy

This issue is seen more often with certain dog breeds and it can be a bit tricky in regard to hybrids like the Maltipoo since the rate at which this affects either the Poodle or Maltese does not seem to play a huge role; this issue has been seen a bit more often lately and it makes it one health concern that Maltipoo owners should at least be aware of. 

Cardiomyopathy is still being studied. Nevertheless, as this disease is currently understood it consists chiefly of an electrical conduction disorder.

This means that it prompts the heart of a dog to beat unsteadily. This is also more regularly known as an arrhythmia. This can happen at random with no way of knowing when it will strike or how long it will last for.
In instances where this does happen at random and not frequently, the dog will probably not have symptoms of heart disease. Yet, if the erratic beats occur in sequence this will cause weakness, collapse or sudden death.

The Symptoms

Once this disease gets bad enough to cause noticeable symptoms, your Maltipoo dog may have:

Fainting – When blood is not pumped properly through the dog’s body, this can cause periods of time where the dog is not receiving enough blood flow and the dog can faint. The fainting will happen for a few seconds to a few minutes depending on how fast the dog’s heart corrects itself.

Coughing - Each instance varies. Nevertheless some Maltipoo dogs with cardiomyopathy will reach a point where the ventricles of the heart enlarge. This then causes the walls of the heart to become thin and the heart itself will lose its strength. Coughing may occur.

How do you know if your Maltipoo has cardiomyopathy (arrhythmia)? This is a part of why this health issue can be so tricky. There are usually no symptoms during early stages. This is usually discovered during a routine vet visit. This is just 1 reason why an owner must always make sure to have their Maltipoo examined on a regular basis even if the puppy or dog seems to be very healthy.  Adults should be seen once per year and seniors should be seen twice per year.

The heart arrhythmias are not always found by using a stethoscope. It all depends on the actual frequency of the abnormal heart rhythm. Typically, the cardiomyopathy will cause an extra heart beat or a skipped beat and it must happen without a corresponding pulse in order to be diagnosed as cardiomyopathy arrhythmia. If the frequency is just right, a veterinarian will be able to detect this during a normal checkup.

In most cases, your dog’s veterinarian will use 1 hand to hold the stethoscope and 1 hand is put on the dog’s hind leg to feel their pulse. Why on the hind leg? This area contains a large femoral artery which vets find one of the best areas to accurately feel the pulse.
When an Irregular Heart Beat is Found

If your Maltipoo’s veterinarian believes that your dog may have cardiomyopathy, the next step is to perform an ECG on the dog. The best method to assess a Maltipoo for arrhythmia is to use a 24-hour ECG. This way, it can detect any arrhythmia even if they happen very infrequently. For this reason, your dog will need to stay overnight.
Is This Treatable?

Thankfully, it is; though prognosis is better the earlier it is found.  If a Maltipoo is diagnosed with cardiomyopathy arrhythmia before it becomes severe, he or she can be treated with anti-arrhythmic medication that usually works quite well. In these cases, a dog can live a quality life and most often reach his or her expected life expectancy.
Is This Fatal?

Sadly, yes, it can be in some cases. There are minor, moderate and severe cases of this. Also, if discovered very late, after a dog has had this for a while, it is much harder to treat. If the dog's body keeps getting hit with skipped beats this can cause the heart to enter an unstoppable uneven rhythm which is fatal. This happens when 100’s or even 1000’s of skips occur in a 24 hour time period.

Does an Irregular Heartbeat Mean it is Cardiomyopathy?

No. Some dogs will have another disease that causes an irregular heartbeat. This can happen with some very bad infections and with certain types of cancer. Once that disease is under control, the heart will go back to beating normally. When the irregular heartbeats in a Maltipoo happen to an otherwise completely healthy dog, it is then that cardiomyopathy is suspected and tests are run to confirm this.


Studies are underway to find out more about the element of L-Carenitine. This is an amino acid that the body uses to turn fat into energy. Testing is being done to see if this has an effect on a dog’s chances of improving or controlling this disease before it becomes too severe. These studies are not yet final; though many veterinarians will prescribe a the  L-Carenitine supplement for dogs with heart problems.  Incidentally, it is also used in the treatment of obesity, hyperlipidemia (an abnormal concentration of fat in the bloodstream) and diabetic ketoacidosis (a diabetes complication where the body produces excess blood acids).

When your Maltipoo is 1 year old, your dog should be checked for an irregular heartbeat. A dog should be checked for this before any breeding is done. If this is to strike a Maltipoo, most often signs of Cardiomyopath arrthymia will show by the age of 5 years old.
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