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    12 yr old dog with heart murmur
    CindyCamp posted:
    This forum is great. Our 12 yr old shepard, collie, lab mix was diagnosed today with a slight heart murmur. She has arthritus in her back legs and is not overweight. She does have numerous and one very large fatty tissue, which we haven't had removed because it isn't bothering her. We had them tested two years ago.
    The vet said on a scale of 1 to 6 on the sound scale with 6 being very loud, Bear's murmur is about a 2 or 3. She recommend a cardiologist to do an ultrasound to find out the reason for this sudden murmur. The cost is about 500.00.
    Considering her age, my hubby and I are thinking to let it go. I just wanted your opinion on whether we should do the ultrasound or not.
    Thanks so much for your advice!
    Bonnie Beaver, BS, DVM, MS responded:
    You are obviously caring owners to have a large dog reach 12 years, congratulations. And now a heart murmur. Heart murmurs are not unusual findings in older dogs. Most of them are not serious because few geriatric dogs are athletes. Most are couch potatoes and don't stress their hearts. The most common cause of these murmurs is a valve that leaks blood between the chambers of the heart. Obviously when blood flow is not normal, it will make the heart work harder. We are fortunate these days to be able to see heart blood flow and the structures of the heart with ultrasound. Your veterinarian is recommending the ultrasound to better understand the cause of the murmur and to then know if heart medication is needed and if so what kinds. Having the ultrasound done is your decision. It was recommended to get a better understanding of what would be the best for your dog, but no one will call you a "bad owner" if you should choose not to have an ultrasound done.
    CindyCamp replied to Bonnie Beaver, BS, DVM, MS's response:
    Thank you so much for your response. Our vet did mention it could be a leaky valve.
    My next question would be if it is diagnosed by the cardiologist that it is a leaky valve and she gets medication, do you know approximately how long this will prolong her life. I understand she may or will have other health issues that need attention, but I guess I would pay the money for ultrasound and meds if I new it had the possiblilty to increase her life by at least one year.
    thank you in advance for your response.
    Bonnie Beaver, BS, DVM, MS replied to CindyCamp's response:
    That is a tough question. For many geriatric dogs that we see that have murmurs, just because they have a murmur does not mean they need medication. In the "ideal world" we would do an ultrasound periodically (maybe once a year at first, then every 6 months as the heart got worse) to follow the progress for the problem. At some point if might be necessary to start medication, but not all dogs will require medicine. As I mentioned it is really to figure out if the murmur is significant (and if medication is needed). This isn't always the "ideal world" and we have a lot of owners who just choose not to follow-up on the murmur. Thats okay --it is their choice.
    CindyCamp replied to Bonnie Beaver, BS, DVM, MS's response:
    I understand Bonnie. At this rate, I think we will hold off a couple months to see if it gets louder.
    Thank you again and enjoy your day!

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