Heart Murmur is best described as sound (whooshing or swishing) of blood flowing through the heart due to anything from heart exertion from a diseased heart valve or other abnormality.
The sound heard can be the major clue in determining whether there are abnormalities of the heart or damage to the blood vessels.
Heart murmur can be easily detected by listening to the dog’s heartbeat with the aid of a stethoscope. A heart murmur is an abnormal sound indicating turbulence in the flow of blood. It may not be categorized as heart disease, but it is certainly considered as heart trouble such as endocarditis, valve abnormalities, or stenosis.
Once identified, there are medical and health solutions that can be done to help your dog. In this article, we will be discussing how heart murmurs can be treated or managed once identified.
Symptoms of Heart Murmur
- Swelling or sudden weight gain
- Shortness of breath
- Chronic cough
- Enlarged liver
- Poor appetite
- Abnormal growth
- Chest pain
Heart murmurs are also graded to ascertain the treatment method; it is graded between 1 and 6. The sound of the murmur determines the grade.
What are the Possible Causes of Heart Murmur in Dogs?
Another interesting fact about heart murmur disease is that it does not have an immediate effect. A dog with a heart murmur may live for a couple of years with heart murmur hence it must be detected on time.
Heartworms can easily cause heart murmur; as such, good heartworm prevention therapy is greatly recommended.
Another plausible cause of heart murmur in dogs is mitral insufficiency, common in small breed dogs.
How Can Heart Murmur be Treated?
Once your dog has been diagnosed with a heart murmur, the question that comes to your mind is, can my dog be treated?
The good news is that Heart Murmur is not a cause for alarm as it can be effectively treated if given adequate attention.
Another major treatment that is greatly recommended for your dogs once diagnosed is brisk exercise such as dog walking.
You can take your dog for a walk within your environment for sightseeing or breathing fresh air. It is important to note that your dog needs restricted exercise in that it does not have to exercise daily to avoid putting excessive strain on the heart.
Apart from a short walk, you can engage your dog in fun activities to improve his/her mental or physical health, such as puzzle games, trick training, find-it game, hide-and-seek, etc. You can change the diet of your dog accompanied by proper medication.
It is crucial to ensure that heart murmur in puppies is properly treated and addressed to avoid abnormal growth in dogs.
The diet of the dog contributes a substantial sum to the wellbeing of the dog, it is, therefore, advisable that once your dog is diagnosed with a heart murmur, it is essential that they maintain a healthy diet to aid the natural repair of the heart.
Raw meat containing protein is most appropriate in treating heart murmurs. Some balanced diets such as Hill’s prescription diet, restrict-CKD, Rayne clinical nutrition, and royal Canin veterinary diet. It should be noted that adhering to the veterinarian’s nutritional diet is important.
It is important that a veterinarian is consulted to properly examine and prescribe the appropriate drugs. Some of which include diuretics (it helps remove accumulated fluids in the dog’s heart), digoxin (it increases the heart muscular force),
the prescribed drugs meant for your dogs to be administered properly and regularly. Upon consultation, the prescribed drugs can be administered in their foods or water regularly to build their immune system to better combat heart murmurs.
Supplements such as antioxidants are highly recommended in aiding cardiac activities in the heart.
In some cases, where the heart murmur is considered to be severe, heart surgery is recommended by the veterinarian expert to repair the heart abnormalities. Dogs diagnosed with Patent Ductus Arteriosus(PDA) are better treated through surgery to eliminate the heart murmur and restore normal life for the dog.
Surgery is considered as the last resort when other means of treatment have proven less effective or the severe nature of the heart murmur requires a surgical operation.
A veterinarian expert’s medical advice and guidance is the most plausible step and should be done.
Note that once treatment has been commenced, it is important to constantly monitor the behavior and progress of your dog(s).