While endocarditis is the inflammation of the lining of the heart (endocardium), infective endocarditis refers to the inflammation of the lining of the heart due to infection. Therefore, infective endocarditis is the inflammation of the heart lining due to an infection. In this condition, the heart becomes inflammaed as a response to any infection in the body. Bacteremia is by far the most common etiology (cause), with the mitral and aortic valve most frequently affected.
Colonization of infective agents (usually bacteria) in the cardiac endocardium causes destruction of valves or other structures within the heart. It is a life threatening disorder that if not treated properly, can lead to heart complications, heart failure and death.
Middle to larged breed dogs are most commonly affected with this condition between the ages four to six years. Males are more prone than female dogs.
Signs and symptoms are variable and based on type of causative agent, location and type of infection. Some of the more common symptoms include
Bluish discoloration of skin
Reluctance to move
Body aches and pains
Symptoms related to heart problems