When a dog has a heart murmur, what this indicates is that there is abnormal blood flow within the dog’s heart. This can be caused by a change in the heart valves and their function, or a number of other potential causes. Dog heart murmur symptoms may be caused by an abnormal communication between the left side and the right side of the heart. There are a number of things that may cause this, as they may be congenital or present from birth, or acquired which means the heart was affected after birth because of age or disease.
There are two types of heart murmurs in dogs, benign murmurs which do not concern the health of the dog, and much more serious heart murmurs which may indicate the development of congestive heart failure in dogs.
Dog heart murmur symptoms often include coughing, poor exercise ability, bluish tinge to the gums or tongue, labored breathing and even fainting. While some of these symptoms can be linked to other health issues, and the symptoms are the same between benign heart murmurs and the more severe forms, you should consult a veterinarian any time you have a concern about your dog’s health.
Some of these symptoms can be easily missed, including poor exercise ability and even a bluish tinge to the gums. If you have any suspicion that your dog may be suffering from issues relating to a heart murmur, canine heart disease or the development of congestive heart failure, contact your vet immediately for an official diagnosis.
These are symptoms that indicate that something serious is going on with your dog’s health. The best way to identify the source and severity of the dog’s heart murmur is to conduct a thorough physical examination by a veterinarian, however sometimes additional testing is needed including a heart ultrasound, blood testing, an EKG and chest x-rays. The ultrasound offers a particularly enticing list of benefits because it allows your veterinarian to measure the extent of the murmur, defining whatever the cause of the underlying heart disease may be.
It is vital that you be able to properly diagnose the cause of your dog’s heart condition because some conditions that cause heart murmurs are treatable, either through surgery or through medication.
If your dog has a congenital heart murmur, surgery may be a viable solution to eliminate the problems it creates. On the other hand, specific types of medication may be necessary because non congenital heart murmurs are often an underlying symptom of congestive heart failure in dogs.
You cannot be sure about which treatment is going to be the right path to proceed with until you have consulted the right veterinarian and received advice regarding the health of your dog. You should never leave symptoms like these to chance, because not every heart murmur is benign, and serious changes could be occurring in your dog’s heart.
It is important to share any questions or concerns that you have with your veterinarian, especially when it comes to your dog’s lifestyle and physical condition. If you do not feel comfortable with a diagnosis from your general veterinarian, consider seeking out an opinion from a veterinary cardiologist or internist, as these specialized veterinarians have special training and expertise in these and similar problems.