size of heart

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the vet showed me an xray of my maltese shi tzu male who is 9 yrs old and the heart reaches from the top of the backbone down to the chest bone, is this enlarged? the vet gave me medication: “vetmedin chews”1.25 mgs – how big is a normal heart for a 9 yr old male maltese shi tzu and is the medication correct?

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Asked on May 7, 2018 9:26 pm
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There is a formulae to compute an oversize heart using the thoracic vertebrae as a measurement. The heart is definitely enlarged if the long axis of the heart is over 12 vertebrae tall. In simple terms, a heart should not go from the backbone to the sternum, that is too large! Vetmedin is a medication to treat insufficient heart valves and/or dilated cardiomyopathy. The dose is determined by weight, 1.25 mg twice a day is the dose for an 11 pound dog. If the symptoms are not controlled with vetmedin alone other medications can be added to the treatment plan, such as enalapril or furosemide.

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Posted by Dr. Gaylord Brown
Answered on May 8, 2018 8:08 pm
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