Causes, Symptoms and Treatment for Heart Murmur in Dogs

Causes, Symptoms and Treatment for Heart Murmur in Dogs

Heart Murmur in Dogs

Heart Murmur in Dogs

Have you ever tried listening to your dog’s heartbeat? I have. A regular, fully functioning dog will have a heartbeat that sounds like short, rhythmic beating. A dog with a heart condition will have a heartbeat that sounds like soft, prolonged thumps. If this is your dog, then your pet is most likely to be suffering from heart murmur in dogs.

Is heart murmur in dogs a serious condition? For some dogs, when signs are detected early on and appropriate treatment is given, they can enjoy a relatively normal life for a long time to come. However, in some cases where the situation is more severe, it may lead to canine heart failure.

Possible Causes of Heart Murmur in Dogs

There are several possible reasons for heart murmur in dogs. One is that the puppy is born with a defect in his heart. Congestive heart failure in dogs is distressing but about 3 million dogs a year are diagnosed with it. While it cannot be completely cured, there are treatments that can be done that can help your dog enjoy a good quality of life nonetheless.

Heart Murmur in DogsAnemia caused by dog parasites can also be the cause of heart murmur in dogs. You must make it a point to bathe your dog regularly and comb his hair with a fine tooth comb to prevent parasite infestation. Mitral valve disease is another possible cause of heart murmur in dogs. High blood pressure, age or compounding heart conditions produce weakened mitral valves. The outcome of this is that instead of pumping blood out like it should, blood leaks to the atrium and the consequence is audible heart murmur sounds. This is the most dangerous cause of heart murmur in dogs and must be attended to as soon as possible.

Be vigilant if your dog gets tired easily, has fainting spells and has difficulty breathing. These are a few signs of heart murmur in dogs. He will not want to eat and move around much. A dog with heart murmur will also likely have bluish/gray gums and have a problem with water retention. If you these behavioral and physical symptoms manifest in your dog, you must bring him to the vet for a check-up immediately.

Tests to Determine Heart Murmur in Dogs

Murmur in DogsAside from monitoring his heartbeat, the vet will also have your dog undertake several tests to accurately determine his condition. Electrocardiogram, chest x-rays, heart ultrasound and blood and urine tests will be administered. Once your dog’s condition is determined, you can proceed to plan out what is the best course of treatment to take for him.

If the case is not to severe, a low sodium and vitamin rich diet can be sufficient. Many times medications like Enalapril, Lasix or Benazepril are used to lower blood pressure and improve heart contraction. For the more serious cases, surgery to rectify damaged valves may be the only option left.

Dogs with serious health problems should not be bred to avoid passing on congestive heart failure in dogs to their offspring. Senior dogs that acquire heart murmur in dogs must be taken cared of well to ensure longevity and quality of life. Make sure to provide a good diet and regular exercise plan for your pet to improve his chances for cardiovascular health.

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3 thoughts on “Causes, Symptoms and Treatment for Heart Murmur in Dogs

  1. Tammy Lester

    My 13 year old Maltese (Tiny Lady) was diagnosed with Heart Murmur (#3 out of a possible 10). I originally thought her heart rhythm change was due to the weather (I live in Cleveland, Ohio and it’s been freezing or just a little above with lots of snow). When we went outside in the snow, I would try to lead her into walkable areas, but she insists on climbing the highest snowbank. When she indicates she’s had enough and wants to be picked up, I ablige her. Her vet put her on Clavamox. I have 4 cats (15, 14, 2 are 8) and one more dog (age 4). They seem to all have various stages of heart murmurs. I AM SO CONFUSED. How can most of my animals get this? Only 2 of my cats are related (brothers). If I stop giving them treats, would this help? Please advise.

  2. PJ Davis

    I had a dog with Pulmonary Stenosis from birth. The breeder told me that he had been checked out by their reputable vet and gave me the reports from the vet. A week after bringing him home I had him checked out by the vet I would be using. As soon as she put the stethoscope to his heart, she turned to me and told me this was one of the worst heart murmurs she had ever heard! After ekgs and ultrasounds he was diagnosed with Pulmonary Stenosis and went through double angioplasty and for the rest his life went through ekg, ultrasound, and heart check-ups 3 times a year along with medication. He survived until six years of age. The cardiologist told the breeder not to breed their female again, it didn’t stop them though! They continued to breed unresponsibly. I fell in love at first sight with my baby boy and had to provide him with the necessary care to survive. It was a financial struggle, but the love we shared was worth every penny. The breeder offered to take him back and give me another dog in his place. He was already irreplaceable in my heart and I knew they would have put him to sleep to avoid the costs. I hope no one goes through what we went through!

  3. Brigitte Smith

    So sorry to hear your sad story, PJ.

    But yes, when you consider the joy dogs bring us, it is worth every cent we have to pay to keep them healthy.

    Regards,
    Brigitte

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