Endocarditis is an inflammation of the serous membrane (skin) that covers the heart chambers and valves respectively.
Endocarditis impairs the hearts pumping activity and thus decreases the flow of blood into the body. The first symptoms of the condition are lethargy, anorexia and exercise intolerance. Some dogs may show additional symptoms such as coughing, retching and fever.
Bacteria born of localized infections somewhere in the dog's body travel with the bloodstream. These bacteria are often the main cause of inflammation of the endocardium. Congenital heart disease, too, can contribute to the development of the condition. Extensive surgery, having teeth extracted, invasive skin infections, or a compromised immue system all can place dogs at additional risk of infection.
In case of endocarditis hospitalization is necessary to administer intravenous drugs and fluid treatment to prevent cardiac failure.
If your dog is showing symptoms of endocarditis, consult a veterinary clinic immediately.