Health Issue – Heart/Cardiac
The Samoyed Club of America advises that all breeding animals be evaluated by a veterinary cardiologist prior to breeding to minimize the risk of passing on congenital cardiac abnormalities in their offspring. However, OFA states:
At this time inherited, developmental cardiac diseases like sub-aortic stenosis and cardiomyopathies are difficult to monitor since there is no clear-cut distinction between normal and abnormal. The OFA will modify the congenital cardiac database when a proven diagnostic modality and normal parameters by breed are established. However at this time, the OFA cardiac database should NOT be considered as a screening tool for these diseases.” (OFA, 2015b)
Some Veterinary Cardiologists recommend use of echocardiograms as a more definitive screen for Sub-Aortic Stenosis and other defects that are more difficult to detect in breeding animals. (Stern, 2015)
Aortic Stenosis/ Sub-aortic stenosis
Aortic stenosis is a congenital (present at birth) condition where the outflow tract from the left side of the heart is restricted, causing the heart to work harder than normal to circulate blood to the body. The restriction may occur above the aortic valve (supra-valvular), at the valve itself or, most commonly, below the valve (sub-valvular). Samoyeds have a 2.8 times greater risk of Sub-aortic stenosis than the general population of dogs (Clark, 2014).
Symptoms may include a heart murmur persisting beyond eight weeks of age, exercise intolerance and sudden cardiovascular collapse & death. Treatment depends on the severity and location of the narrowed area and ranges from management with medications to surgery.
Pulmonic valve stenosis
Pulmonic stenosis is a congenital (present at birth) condition where the outflow tract from the right side of the heart is restricted, causing the heart to work harder than normal to circulate blood to the lungs. There are three types of pulmonic stenosis: valvular pulmonic stenosis (occurring in the valve), subvalvular pulmonic stenosis (occurring below the valve, and supravalvular pulmonic stenosis (just inside the pulmonary artery). Valvular pulmonic stenosis is the most common form seen in dogs. (PetMD, 2015)
Bell cites that Samoyeds are at a 5.4 x odds ratio for this congenital defect (2012, p. 407) Symptoms include a heart murmur persisting beyond eight weeks of age, exercise intolerance and, in severe forms, congestive heart failure. Treatment will reflect the severity of the obstruction but, if the dog is symptomatic, it typically requires cardiac catheritization where a balloon is passed through the narrowed area and used to dilate the obstruction.