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    dog heart murmur
    SandyChiz posted:
    I just found out that my dog has a heart murmur. She's not coughing yet, so the vet didn't prescribe any meds. What can I do in the meantime so she doesn't get to the coughing stage?
    Bonnie Beaver, BS, DVM, MS responded:
    Heart murmurs have a number of different causes and some are serious, but not all of them are. The maintance of good health, a good diet, and mild but not excessive exercise will be the best thing for your dog. Obviously it will be important to follow the progress of the murmur over time to see if it gets worse. If is progresses, then appropriate medications can be helpful. If you are highly concerned, you could ask for a referral to a veterinary cardiologist to get the specifics of the problem with special scanning.

    I hope it is one of the not serious kinds of murmurs.
    MaryAnne0210 responded:
    My cocker has had a heart murmur his entire life. He required no meds and it never seemed to bother him. I was always told to look out for a cough and within the last month it finally began. He's now 11.6 yo and was diagnosed with advanced congestive heart failure and is now on three meds. He still doesn't realize he's sick - he eats normally, climbs the stairs normally, runs around and loves his walks. So, depending on the age of your dog, she can live a very healthy and fulfulling life. You can find out more about congestive heart failure on the boards w/in this sight to learn more about the types of coughs you need to recognize.
    SandyChiz replied to Bonnie Beaver, BS, DVM, MS's response:
    Thank you! It's not even a grade 2 murmur - but I don't want it to progress to that stage. Thank you again!
    SandyChiz replied to MaryAnne0210's response:
    Thank you for sharing this with me. It makes me feel better. She's 10 years old, but we didn't rescue her until she was 7, so she's still our puppy!! I'll take note of what I need to look for. Thank you!!
    bluegreeny replied to MaryAnne0210's response:
    I wanted to thank you for taking the time to post this useful information. I just got back from the vet's office with my nine-year-old Bichon and was alarmed to find he has a grade 3 murmur. I brought him in because he seems to be more lethargic than even his usual sleepyhead self. But I didn't really expect them to find anything. He is not coughing and his weight is fine. I am not sure whether to just keep an eye on it or go further with testing and start him on meds. Most meds have side effects and so far, he doesn't seem too bothered, except for the exercise intolerance. He enjoys walks, but they have to be pretty short, and he tires easily. Gee, I'm rambling, but I'm nervous and not sure what to do. Thanks very much for your info because it really does help to know something concrete. And good luck with your dog.
    lbferguson responded:
    In response to SandyChiz, please, please keep a close eye on your little one. My 10 year old Toy Poodle passed away due to his heart murmur. It started as a heart murmur and progressed to congestive heart failure. He had a noticable cough that had lasted for years but still loved to exercise, ate well and generally seemed very happy. But like Dr. Beaver said, heart murmurs or problems of any kind can become quite serious and even deadly in no time, so please keep a keen eye on her and as soon as the coughing starts, take action. By the way, what breed or mix is she?
    SandyChiz replied to lbferguson's response:
    She's a nearly 11 year old Dachshund - she hasn't started coughing yet - but now I know to keep a CLOSE eye on her. Thank you so MUCH!!
    Sandy Willis, DVM, DACVIM replied to SandyChiz's response:
    Hi all,

    Heart murmurs are graded in intensity from one (very soft) to 6 (very loud). They indicate that the heart valves may not be closing correctly and/or the heart charmbers are larger than normal.

    Some are innocent and result in no problems. Some indicate serious disease.

    We don't treat heart murmurs, we treat heart disease. And heart disease can present as fluid in the lungs or around the lungs, poor pulses, rapid heart rates, etc. with signs that include coughing, exercise intolerance, weakness, even collapse.

    Xrays can help determine if heart failure is present but a veterinary cardiologist or heart specialist can use a special kind of ultrasound called an echocardiogram to look at the heart values and chambesr and determine how serious the murnumr really is and whether heart disease is present.

    If you are concerned about the consequences of ecen a soft numrur in your dog or cat, ask your family veterinarian for a referral to a ist who can make sure everything is just fine.

    I hope this is helpful. Great discussion with lots of great input.

    Dr. Sandy
    agelessblond responded:
    My Maltese-mix dog is now 17 or possibly 17 1/2. She's had cardiomyopathy & a murmur for several years. She runs around like a puppy. LIttle dogs can go a long time w/ heart problems & do very well. In addition to 1/4 tablet of Vetmedin (Rx), I give her the herb Hawthorne Berry - 1/8 tsp. twice a day in her food. The vet keeps saying how amazed he is that she's so old & her heart & lungs sound so good. My other Maltese-mix has a somewhat enlarged heart, but is not on a prescription, just the Hawthorne Berry. She's doing very well. Neither dog has ever coughed. I take Hawthorne Berry too. It corrected my occasional skipped beats & keeps my heart rate at a good level (was a little fast). After I told my cardiologist I was taking the herb, I was told that they carry it there (but, of course, they push the prescription drugs). I no longer need to see him. Interesting, huh?
    hicklady1124 replied to agelessblond's response:
    My vet did not want me giving my little min pin a herbal med with the vetmedin, but he just doesnt act right & I want to help him,

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