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What is a heart murmur in dogs?

(October 13, 2011)

A heart murmur in dogs is associated with sub-par functioning of the heart’s valves. The heart is responsible for keeping the clean and impure blood separate. The various valves of the heart pump oxygenated or non oxygenated blood, depending on its functions. The muscles of the heart sometimes weaken and do not function as they are supposed to. This is what is called a heart murmur.

Symptoms of Heart Murmur in Dogs

In dogs, a heart murmur can lead to heart failure. The symptoms of heart murmur in dogs include labored breathing, lack of exercise ability especially if it has decreased visibly, fainting, a cough or trying to clear its throat or a bluish tinge to the teeth and gums.

Treatment For Heart Murmur in Dogs

The treatment for heart murmur in dogs is usually determined only once the cause of the heart murmur is determined. Heart murmurs in dogs can be caused by many factors including high blood pressure, genetic defects, anemia, any form of cardiovascular disease and blood leakage from valves of the heart. Depending on what causes the heart murmur, the treatment will change. Diagnosis is done with the help of many different techniques including physical testing, blood and urine tests, ultrasounds and echograms or chest X rays. Physical testing with the help of a stethoscope is usually enough and only if the vet is not sure, he will order advanced testing. If the murmurs are a result of a genetic deficiency, then surgery could be recommended but that is usually a last-resort treatment.

Life Expectancy

With heart murmur in dogs, owners often wonder what will happen to the dog’s life expectancy. Most dogs live normal lives with heart murmurs. It will only cause worry if the heart murmurs appear later in the dog’s life and rapidly degrades the quality of life. There are six grades of murmurs. Depending on how your vet classifies the murmur, the seriousness of it will matter. Dietary changes like low sodium diets and using some amount of diuretic medications may help your dog live a long and peaceful like with murmurs. Sometimes drugs are also prescribed. Treated dogs are known to live long lives. Often diagnosing it and changing the diet is sufficient treatment for heart murmurs. If your dog is diagnosed with a heart murmur, it does not usually mean your dog will also suffer from heart disease. For such reasons, it is also very important to know what has caused the heart murmurs.
Submitted by N on October 13, 2011 at 02:25


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