Tricuspid Valve Dysplasia

Tricuspid valve dysplasia (TVD) is one of the many pathological conditions involving any of the various heart valves. A tricuspid valve is situated between the right atrium and right ventricle of the heart and valve consists of three cusps. In tricuspid valve dysplasia, valves can become too thick or short, do not close tightly and allow regurgitation of the blood back into the right atrium causing the right side of the heart to enlarge. Congenital tricuspid valve dysplasia is often accompanied by atrial septal defect or malformed mitral valve complex and is seen in the the German Shepherd Dog, Great Dane, Old English Sheepdog, and Labrador Retriever (heritable form).

There are two forms of tricuspid valve dysplasia. Puppies with mild TVD can live somewhat normal lives, but those with severe form will die before they are one year of age as the condition often results in congestive heart failure manifested by rapid breathing, exercise intolerance, and bluish discoloration of mucous membranes and gums.

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Treatment depends on the severity of the disease, but in most cases it is aimed at managing the symptoms of congestive heart failure and irregular heart beat. Surgical correction or valve replacement may be available in the future. Anti-arrhythmic drugs may become necessary in cases of irregular heart beat. In a study of dogs with congenital tricuspid valve dysplasia undergoing prosthetic valve replacement, oral warfarin therapy was used successfully with no report of fatal bleeding.5

dysplasia - developmental abnormality
heart valves - flaps of tissue that prevent regurgitation of blood from the heart ventricles to the heart atria and from the pulmonary arteries or aorta to the ventricles
ventricle - a lower chamber of the heart
atrium - an upper chamber of the heart


  1. Mike Martin, Brendan Corcoran. Notes on Cardiorespiratory Diseases of the Dog and Cat
  2. K. V.F. Jubb, Peter C. Kennedy, Nigel Palmer. Pathology of Domestic Animals, Volume 3 (4th Edition)
  3. Famula TR, Siemens LM, Davidson AP, Packard M. Evaluation of the genetic basis of tricuspid valve dysplasia in Labrador Retrievers
  4. Schweiz Arch Tierheilkd. Tricuspid valve dysplasia in fifteen dogs
  5. Warfarin therapy in a dog with acute arterial thrombosis and pyometra

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