There are a number of different heart conditions which can affect dogs, however, the main two known in the Miniature Bull Terrier are
It is recommended that all dog’s hearts are tested by a qualified Cardiologists at the age of 12 month by means of Auscultation which simply means the Cardiologist listens to the beating of the dogs’ heart through a stethoscope. For the pet owner, if they are advised their dog is free of murmur, then no further tests are needed. If a low grade murmur is detected, ie grade 1 or 2, the vet will probably advise testing on an annual basis but generally no further action would be needed as these low grade murmurs are unlikely to affect the dog through its life. If, however, the murmur is higher, the Cardiologist will recommend further testing with ECG or Doppler.
For all breeding stock, advice from the AHT/KC is that only dogs clear of murmur or with, at most, a grade 1 murmur, should be bred from. However, as part of the KC interbreeding scheme a miniature bull terrier can be mated if it has a grade 2 murmur as long as the These dogs/bitches should be tested annually and have a valid, current certificate prior to mating.
Some phrases explained:
A Hereditary Heart Disease is one which is passed genetically from the parents, but which may not be expressed as a disease in the puppy.
A Congenital Heart Disease is one with which the puppy is born.
An Acquired Heart Disease is not present at birth but develops later. e.g. due to age.