Heart Murmur in Dogs Signs, Treatments:
Heart murmur in dogs, as dangerous as the term may sound, is not always a serious condition. Heart murmurs are essentially just sounds that are produced by turbulence in the blood flow in and around the heart. When the turbulence is too much, it produces noise that can actually be heard. However, in several cases, this may simply be what is known as an innocent murmur. This may be due to some mild and inconsequential physical abnormality outside the heart and its connected blood vessels. If there are no other symptoms besides the sound itself, a murmur may be considered “innocent”. In such cases, the murmur will usually disappear as the dog grows up. Of course, thorough investigation is necessary before coming to such a conclusion, because carelessly dismissing such a problem could have fatal consequences.
It is not always easy to detect symptoms of heart murmur in dogs, as the condition is often asymptomatic. In many cases, a pathologic murmur is detected only accidentally, in the course of routine tests or investigations of other medical disorders. If symptoms are present, they may include unexplained panting, difficulty in handling exertion, unexplained and frequent coughing, and labored breathing. A bluish tinge may also be noticed in areas such as the gums, lips, and tongue. In more severe cases, the dog may even become unconscious without any apparent cause.
If your dog exhibits any of the symptoms mentioned, you should get him or her checked by the veterinarian at the earliest. With the help of a full physical examination and possibly a few medical tests as well, including blood tests and heart ultrasound tests, the vet will be able to determine the exact reason for the murmurs. Depending upon the diagnosis, the vet will prescribe a suitable course of treatment.
Treatment for heart murmur in dogs varies depending upon the exact nature of the problem. In case of innocent murmurs, no real treatment may be needed, except perhaps for some basic precautions with regard to the dog diet and lifestyle, especially if there is any reason to believe that the condition could get serious. If the condition is already serious, then suitable medication will be prescribed with the aim of improving and stabilizing heart function. In more severe cases, medication alone might not be able to improve the dogs condition, in which case more aggressive treatment is necessary. This typically involves surgery, and your vet will help you to make this decision.