Health Implications of Heart Murmur in Dogs

A heart murmur in dogs can sometimes be of no concern as the condition may not have significant consequences to their health. However, a canine heart murmur can be severe and cause many health implications.

What Is a Heart Murmur?

When there is turbulence in the blood flow of a dog heart, this is considered a heart murmur.

Symptoms of a Canine Heart Murmur

One of the first signs dog owners notice in dogs that have heart murmurs is an unusual lack of energy. The dog may pant a lot while it is resting and have a fast pulse.

Dogs may even have fainting spells if they have a murmur because oxygen is not circulating through the body adequately. Fluid retention is also noticed in dogs with this problem.

Underlying Factors that Could Cause a Heart Murmur

Symptoms of a murmur usually indicate a problem in the heart that is serious. The murmur is a sign of an underlying problem.

Mitral valve dysplasia will cause a murmur because there is a leaky valve and turbulence in the blood reflux. A hole in the wall of the pumping chambers develops and can result in turbulence in blood flow.

If there is a narrowing of the outflow area of the pulmonary artery at the right ventricle's exit, a murmur will be found when blood is trying to get out the right ventricle. This is what is called pulmoic stenosis. Aortic stenosis, on the other hand, occurs in the aorta.

Grades of Murmurs

Grades 1-2: these murmurs are considered to be minor. No immediate action is required other than keeping a watchful eye on a dog for a chronic cough or lack of energy, which should be reported to the vet.

Grades 3-4: Murmurs at these grades are when one will notice their dog become more tired after exertion. If a cough develops, it may sound like fluid is building up in the lungs. Murmurs in these grades may require medication.

Grades 5-6: These are considered to be the most serious grades. Heart murmurs will mostly likely have to be treated with medications and possibly surgery. Murmurs at this high level will eventually lead to congestive heart disease.

Treating Canine Heart Murmurs

Treating the murmur will depend on the stage of the disease and how it has affected the canine's other body parts.

Some heart murmurs may not require any interventions at all. Others may require medications to be taken on a regular basis. A vet may recommend a low sodium diet for the dog so it is less likely to retain fluid. In severe cases, surgery may be required to treat the murmur.

Dog health experts agree that the prognosis of dogs with heart murmurs all depends on the grade of murmur and the underlying causes. If one suspects their canine to have a murmur, they should get a professional diagnosis from a veterinarian. The vet will be able to provide treatment options and will monitor the murmur on a regular basis to see if the condition has progressed.