4.Neoplasia 4. Neoplasia

In dogs haemangiosarcoma is the most common primary cardiac neoplasm and it usually affects the right atrium. They may also be secondary having spread from another site. The German shepherd dog may be predisposed to develop this type of tumour.

Heart base tumours (chemodectomas) are most commonly found in brachycephalic dogs such as the boxer and Boston terrier (6-14 years of age) and males may be affected more frequently. The tumours usually involve the aortic bodies lying at the base of the aorta and pulmonary artery. They are often small and slow growing, but can infiltrate locally. Ectopic thyroid or parathyroid tumours and lymphomas may also occur at this site.

In cats primary cardiac tumours are rare. Haemangiosarcoma and lymphosarcoma are the most common secondary metastatic neoplasms.

Clinical findings

Depending upon the structures invaded or compressed by the growing tumour mass a variety of clinical findings can be seen:

(1) dysrhythmias
(2) signs of congestive heart failure
(3) pericardial effusion (haemorrhage) with/without tamponade
(4) syncope
(5) weakness
(6) weight loss
(7) dyspnoea.


Based on clinical findings, radiography, echocardiography.


Although surgical excision may be possible in some cases, treatment is usually inadvisable as the prognosis is poor.