What Are The Signs Of A Dog With A Heart Murmur
Edward R. Forte
November 25, 2021
Training & Behavior
Pathologic heart murmurs can be caused by a structural problem within the heart (i.e., cardiac disease), or can be due to a problem that is 'extracardiac' (i.e., not caused by heart disease).What is an innocent or physiologic heart murmur?In general, a physiologic or innocent heart murmur will have a low intensity (usually Grade I-II out of VI), and does not cause any symptoms or clinical signs.The most common cause of an acquired heart murmur in the dog is 'mitral insufficiency' (also called 'mitral regurgitation'), a condition in which the mitral valve becomes thickened and begins leaking (see our handout 'Mitral Valve Disease in Dogs') - mitral insufficiency tends to be more common in small breed dogs.In most cases, a heart murmur is detected when your veterinarian listens to your dog’s heart with a stethoscope.If your pet is still a young puppy and the murmur is of low intensity, your veterinarian may recommend a re-examination in a few weeks time to track whether the murmur has decreased in intensity or disappeared, indicating that it was likely an innocent murmur.Similarly, if your adult dog appears to be extremely stressed at the time of a routine health examination and the murmur is of low intensity, your veterinarian may recommend a re-evaluation at a later time when the dog is calmer.A dog with a heart murmur that is caused by a structural heart disease or an extracardiac problem will generally have some symptoms or clinical signs that can be attributed to the disease.During a physical examination, if your veterinarian detects an abnormal rhythm to the heartbeat, or finds that your dog has weak pulses or irregular pulses, it will be more likely that the murmur is caused by an underlying problem.If your veterinarian determines or suspects that the heart murmur is caused by structural heart disease or an extracardiac problem, further diagnostic testing will be recommended.Depending on what other clinical signs are present in your dog, your veterinarian will usually recommend X-rays, an electrocardiogram, or an ultrasound examination of the heart (an echocardiogram).A Doppler examination is a specialized type of echocardiogram in which the speed and direction of blood flow can be measured across the heart valves and in the heart chambers.Heart murmurs are simply abnormal heart sounds caused by turbulent blood flow, and treatment depends upon the underlying cause of the heart murmur or the turbulent blood flow.If the murmur is caused by extracardiac disease or a functional problem that can be treated, the murmur may resolve over time.The long-term prognosis for a dog with a murmur caused by congenital heart disease is extremely variable, depending on the specific type of defect that is present; if the defect can be surgically corrected the prognosis is very good. .
Heart Murmur In Dogs: Symptoms, Causes, & Treatments
There is no direct treatment for heart murmurs in dogs, but the causes can often be treated, which may reduce the vibrations in the heart.Your veterinarian will find the cause of the heart murmur and then form a treatment plan.The grade doesn’t necessarily correlate to the severity of the underlying cause of the heart murmur.Here’s what you should know about the symptoms, causes, and treatments associated with heart murmurs.Symptoms Of Heart Murmur In Dogs.Here are a few signs of heart disease that may appear along with a heart murmur:.Causes of Heart Murmur In Dogs.They can be congenital (present at birth), result from heart defects, or appear with infections, inflammation, or other diseases.Here are a few of the conditions that can cause a heart murmur:.Treatments For Heart Murmur In Dogs.Vets don’t treat heart murmurs in dogs directly, as they’re not a condition on their own. .
Heart Murmur in Dogs
There are several types of heart murmurs, some more serious than others.Depending on the underlying conditions that result in a murmur, they may be treatable.If your dog has a murmur, it is not an immediate cause for panic.Some murmurs are determined to be “innocent” or “physiologic,” while other times, they are determined to be pathologic or caused by a disease, such as a structural problem within the heart (cardiac disease).Murmurs can also be due to a problem that is “extra-cardiac,” meaning they are not caused by heart disease.These physiological conditions include fever or infection, pregnancy, emaciation, obesity, anemia, and hypoproteinemia.Adult dogs typically become anemic due to issues such as blood loss or severe disorders.We will explain all of these and what they mean in-depth in the sections below.Heart murmurs can be broken down into three types: systolic, diastolic, and continuous.Continuous murmur: This type of murmur is most often caused by patent ductus arteriosus (PDA), which is a failure of a large blood vessel, the ductus arteriosus, to close just after birth.The breeds most commonly affected are Maltese, Pomeranian, Poodle, Keeshond, Bichon Frise, Chihuahua, and German Shepherd.Grade 4 – These murmurs are moderate to intense and can be heard on each side of the chest.They can also be felt by holding a hand against the chest.Heart murmurs in dogs have four main configurations or qualities which are plateau, crescendo-decrescendo, decrescendo, and machinery.It’s best to consult with your veterinarian to learn more about the specific heart murmur that your dog has so you can best do further research on the correct configuration.These types of murmurs are commonly seen in young puppies, especially larger breeds, as they begin to grow rather quickly.A puppy with an innocent heart murmur will most likely outgrow it by around four to five months of age.Once the root issue is uncovered, a course of treatment can be determined.Medical treatment may include a change in diet, exercise restrictions, and medication.In the case of young puppies and murmurs, they may often resolve on their own.There is no specific cure for a heart murmur, as they are the result of an underlying problem.Chest X-rays – depending on the dog’s size, how many are needed, and.Many of those causes are treatable, and in some cases, the murmur may resolve on its own.While they are usually caused by an underlying condition or heart disorder, some heart murmurs can be completely “innocent” and owners may even be unaware their dog has one.If you suspect your dog may have a heart murmur, it’s best to get it checked by a veterinarian to determine the severity and treat the underlying cause. .
My pet was diagnosed with a heart murmur! What does that mean
Heart murmurs in these dogs may indicate that these dogs have a leaky mitral valve (the heart valve in between the left atrium and left ventricle).Signs of congestive heart failure include cough (especially a cough at rest), a fast breathing rate (especially at rest), difficulty breathing, fainting, weakness, lethargy, exercise intolerance and/or abdominal distension.A cardiologist can perform an echocardiogram and determine the stage of chronic valve disease present.If congestive heart failure is present, oral medications can be prescribed to help maintain a good quality of life.In addition, because the heart is not pumping effectively, these dogs can develop profound weakness, lethargy, exercise intolerance and fainting.A cardiologist can perform an echocardiogram and determine if dilated cardiomyopathy is present in susceptible breeds.If congestive heart failure is present, oral medications can be prescribed to help maintain a good quality of life.Some dogs can do well with these medications for a period of months to 1-2 years.A cardiologist can perform an echocardiogram and determine if hypertrophic cardiomyopathy or other structural heart disease is present in susceptible breeds and in cats that have abnormal heart sounds on physical examination.Some cats develop congestive heart failure soon after their disease is diagnosed by echocardiogram.Recheck cardiology visits and echocardiograms are necessary to determine the progression of disease in each patient.If congestive heart failure is present, oral medications can be prescribed to help maintain a good quality of life, and some cats can do well with these medications for a period of months to 1-2 years. .
Heart Murmur in Dogs – American Kennel Club
Dog’s hearts, like ours, pump blood through their bodies.You’ve probably listened to your own heartbeat or a loved one's at some point in your life, and so you know that hearts beat regularly as they pump the blood that keeps us alive.Continuous murmurs, on the other hand, happen throughout your dog’s regular heartbeat cycle.Heart murmurs in dogs are graded on a scale of one to six.Grade II murmurs are soft, but your veterinarian can hear them with the help of a stethoscope.Most murmurs that cause serious problems are at least a grade III.Grade IV murmurs are loud and can be heard on either side of the chest.Grade V murmurs are very loud and can be heard with a stethoscope without difficulty, and can also be felt by holding a hand against the dog’s chest.There are four main types of configurations (sometimes referred to as qualities): plateau, crescendo-decrescendo, decrescendo, and machinery.These are associated with conditions such as aortic and pulmonic stenosis.These murmurs are commonly seen with aortic valve insufficiency or a ventricular septal defect.Machinery quality, or continuous murmurs, are associated with patent ductus arteriosus (PDA), which is a congenital heart defect.These terms can get confusing for owners first learning about heart murmurs.Your veterinarian will investigate these diseases based on the type of murmur.The most common condition associated with diastolic murmurs is aortic insufficiency, which is when the aortic valve does not close tightly, and therefore leaks.These heart murmurs are not serious and often resolve with time.Heart murmurs can be serious, but they are not a cause for panic.Heart murmurs can be complicated to wrap your head around.If you have further questions about heart murmurs in dogs, consult your veterinarian, and don’t be afraid to ask her to point you in the direction of client handouts and materials that will provide more information about your dog’s condition. .
Heart Murmurs in Dogs
Murmurs are extra heart vibrations that are produced as a result of a disturbance in the blood flow -- enough, in fact, to produce audible noise.Often, the murmurs are classified according to a variety of characteristics, including their timing.If you would like to learn more about how they affect cats, please visit this page in the PetMD health library.The symptoms associated with murmurs depend on a variety of characteristics, including their grade, configuration, and location.If, however, the murmur is associated with structural heart disease, your dog may display signs of congestive heart failure such as coughing, weakness, or exercise intolerance.Grade IV—loud murmur that radiates widely, often including opposite side of chest.More specifically, the following are some conditions and diseases that may bring on murmurs:.He or she also must differentiate between abnormal lung and heart sounds, and listen to see if timing of abnormal sound is correlated with respiration or heartbeat.This can be accomplished by conducting a variety of tests, including chest X-rays, Doppler studies, and echocardiography.A complete blood count, meanwhile, is one of the preferred methods for confirming anemic murmurs.Unless heart failure is evident, your dog will be treated as an outpatient. .
Should I be worried if my dog was diagnosed with a heart murmur
The whooshing sound can be a leaky heart valve, defects of the heart, weak heart muscles, heart worm disease, tumors, infections, or so on. .
The coughing dog with a heart murmur
However, in the majority of dogs with pulmonary oedema causing alveolar flooding, cough receptor excitation would not be an expected feature, with tachypnoea/hyperpnoea (‘breathlessness’) being a more consistent feature.Thus, the typical busy small animal clinician will encounter many dogs with heart murmurs consistent with MMVD who will not be (and might never be within their lifetimes) in congestive heart failure.When patients with such murmurs present with cough, clinicians are presented with a diagnostic dilemma as to how relevant the finding of a heart murmur typical of MMVD may be.The dog had stage B2 mitral valve disease (cardiac enlargement but no congestive heart failure) and the cough was caused by generalised bronchomalacia and bronchial collapse.Might some dogs cough, not due to presence of pulmonary oedema, but due to the effects of left atrial enlargement as a result of mitral regurgitation compressing the bronchi (and thus exciting mechanoreceptor-mediated coughing)?causes of a cough.The timing of coughing may be important and it should always be ascertained whether cough occurs in association with eating and drinking (which may implicate aspiration due to failure of effective laryngeal guarding), or whether cough is associated with excitement/exercise.The latter is a hallmark of dynamic airway collapse, not heart disease.A sinus arrhythmia, if present, is a very important clinical ‘clue’ in distinguishing between cardiogenic and respiratory causes of respiratory signs in patients who may also have a heart murmur detected (provided that the clinician auscultates for long enough and with observation of the patient’s respiration to appreciate it).Investigation of coughing will usually necessitate some form of diagnostic imaging (of which radiography is the most accessible, useful and cost-effective) and where airway disorders are present, some form of direct visualisation of airway structures.Radiography of the large airways should always include the extrathoracic as well as intrathoracic structures, and sensitivity of detection of dynamic collapse is enhanced by taking exposures during both inspiration and expiration. .
Heart Murmur in Dogs: Causes, Symptoms, Treatment
Heart murmurs are quite common in dogs, and many live a normal life span.A murmur can be caused by a structural abnormality of the heart, or it can be “innocent” or “physiologic”, meaning there is no structural change to the heart.Puppies also can be born with a murmur that may go away as they mature.While x-rays are helpful for evaluating a murmur, the best test to determine cause of a murmur is called an echocardiogram, which is an ultrasound of the heart and its vessels.If you have any questions or concerns about murmurs, please contact your veterinarian. .
Heart Murmurs in Dogs
Grade I—barely audible.Grade V—very loud, audible with stethoscope barely touching the chest wall; commonly the vibration is strong enough to be felt through the chest wall.Ultrasound in particular is a common, low-cost and non-invasive way to inspect a pet’s heart, also referred to as a cardiac echo.A number of conditions can present with heart murmurs, such as a valve abnormality, swelling or inflammation of the heart. .