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Heart murmurs in Dogs

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    New Hampshire

    Heart murmurs in Dogs

    Murmurs on the right side of the heart can be caused by tricuspid regurgitation or ventricular septal defect (VSD). Tricuspid regurgitation means the heart's tricuspid valve isn't closing correctly, allowing blood to flow backward into the heart.

    A ventricular septal defect (VSD) is a hole or holes in the wall separating the left and right ventricles of the heart. Murmurs on the left side of the heart are most often caused by mitral valve prolapse, stenoses of aortic or pulmonary valves, or patent ductus arteriosus (PDA).

    Mitral valve prolapse is a problem with the improper closure of the mitral valve separating the upper and lower chambers of the left side of the heart, and is the most common cause of acquired murmurs in adult dogs.

    Stenosis of the aortic or pulmonary valves means the valves have narrowed, causing the heart to work harder to pump blood through the smaller openings. Patent ductus arteriosus (PDA) is a condition in which the ductus arteriosus blood vessel fails to close normally, interrupting the normal blood flow between the aorta and pulmonary arteries that carry blood from the heart.

    Heart valve lesions cause murmurs. Congenital (from birth) lesions are much more common in young dogs, while acquired lesions are more often seen in adult dogs.

    Symptoms and Diagnosis
    Five important signs to watch for if you suspect or know your dog has a heart problem include:

    Bluish-appearing tongue
    Loss of appetite
    Fatigue, weakness, loss of stamina and decreased exercise endurance
    Too fast or too slow heart beat; increased respiratory effort, including increased respiratory rate
    When your veterinarian discovers evidence of a heart murmur in your dog, he or she will discuss which of the following diagnostic tests are most appropriate.

    Blood tests. A CBC (complete blood count) and serum chemistries can aid in detecting problems with major organs like the kidneys and liver, which need to be healthy if heart medications are prescribed. There is also a blood test that measures the amount of stretching the heart muscle is undergoing, called a proBNP blood test.

    Chest x-rays. X-rays of your dog's chest can give important information about her heart and lungs. The heart's size, shape and position can be visualized, as can blood vessels and lung patterns.

    ECG. An ECG (electrocardiogram) can aid in detection of heart rate and rhythm abnormalities, heart chamber size and electrical activity in the heart.

    Cardiac ultrasound. An ultrasound (also called an echocardiogram) of the heart shows strength of contractions, the size of the chambers of the heart, thickness of heart muscle walls and heart valve function. It can also detect heartworms and tumors.

    Treatment Options
    We don't actually treat heart murmurs in dogs; however, the underlying cause can sometimes be addressed, depending on a variety of factors including the severity of the murmur, the age and health of the patient, the cost of treatment and other concerns.

    If possible, I recommend having your dog seen by a board-certified veterinary cardiologist who can provide you with more information about the severity of your pet's heart condition. There are some beneficial drugs that can reduce the workload of the heart and be quite helpful in decreasing myocardial (heart muscle) wear and tear. The downside of these drugs is they don't support the exhausted cardiovascular organ system, which is critical for successful long-term support, in my opinion.

    They also don't address the nutritional deficiencies that can contribute to murmurs. I encourage you to contact a holistic or integrative veterinarian who can partner with you to manage your dog's overall health, in terms of how the cardiopulmonary system affects other organ systems.

    It's important your pet consume a diet with abundant sources of trace minerals and whole food nutrients including organic selenium, vitamin E, folate, lycopene, zinc and magnesium, which are often missing or deficient in homemade diets and highly processed diets with extended shelf lives.

    I recommend that any pet with a heart issue dramatically increase intake of ubiquinol (the reduced form of CoQ10) and omega-3 essential fatty acids, especially krill oil. I've seen this protocol do an exceptional job slowing down the progression of murmurs, and minimizing the presence of transient murmurs in many patients. Additional beneficial supplements for heart health can include:

    Amino acids such as taurine, arginine and acetyl-l-carnitine

    Chinese herbs

    Homeopathic remedies if there are additional symptoms present (shortness of breath, coughing, fluid retention, fatigue with exertion, etc.)


    Herbs such as Hawthorne berry and cayenne

    Heart glandulars
    Tips to Proactively Protect Your Dog's Heart Health
    Ask your veterinarian for the proBNP blood test. This test can give you peace of mind that your dog has no early signs of heart disease. It's a simple blood test with a fast turn-around time that can provide the information you need to proactively manage your dog's heart health.

    If you have a breed genetically predisposed to heart issues, consider a screening test that identifies the issue early, so you can do something about it. Help your dog maintain a good body weight through regular aerobic exercise.

    Feed a high-quality, nutritionally balanced and species-appropriate diet that meets your dog's nutritional requirements for optimal protein (and amino acid) levels, healthy fat, EFAs and coenzyme Q10, as well as critical micronutrients such as vitamins D and E, calcium, zinc and magnesium, which are often deficient in homemade, unbalanced diets. Take excellent care of your dog's dental health (bacteria from dirty mouths have been linked to heart valve infections in dogs).
    he is your friend and protector, he will love you unconditionally, you owe it to him to be worthy of such devotion

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2017
    North Carolina, USA
    Jackson suffers from this and tracheal collapse.
    2 Dogs- Jackson & Salsi (Chihuahua & Mix) 1 Cat- Cameron (Mix) 1 Mouse- Pip (Pink Eyed White) 1 Bird- Clover (Crimson Bellied Conure) 1 Fish- Ali (Veiltail Betta) 1 Snake- Medusa (Corn)

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