By September 30, 2016

Signs of a Canine Heart Murmur: What You Should Know

A canine heart murmur occurs when the blood flow in the heart is not synchronised.  The ailment often is defined by the following symptoms:

  • An irregular heartbeat
  • A hacking cough that persists
  • Laboured breathing or excessive panting when a dog is at rest
  • Notable fatigue
  • A lack of energy
  • Fainting or collapsing
  • Bluish-tinged gums
  • Racing pulse
  • Water retention
  • Lack of appetite

Besides a murmur, the above symptoms can also point to other serious health issues. Only a veterinarian can make a medical diagnosis.

How Murmurs Develop

According to veterinarians in Beckenham, dogs develop heart murmurs for various reasons. While some dogs may develop heart disease, causing the heart to beat irregularly, other dogs may experience blood leakage from the valves or may suffer from hypertension. Puppies that are born with a genetic defect may also develop a heart murmur.

When blood leaks from the valves, the condition is known as mitral valve stenosis. If holes are present in the heart’s chamber, the blood in the heart may flow too rapidly, causing the heart to beat irregularly. In some dogs, aortic or pulmonary stenosis, which is a narrowing of the aortic or pulmonary arteries, will lead to an irregular blood flow and heart murmur.

Making a Diagnosis

If a suspicion of a murmur exists, a veterinarian will perform a number of different tests to confirm a diagnosis. These tests include:

  • Listening to the heart with the aid of a stethoscope
  • X-raying the dog’s chest
  • Performing a heart ultrasound to check for irregularities
  • Taking urine and bloods test to check for abnormal kidney or liver functioning
  • Performing an electrocardiogram to assess a dog’s heart activity

If you believe your dog has a heart murmur, don’t delay in scheduling an appointment with a veterinarian. Share your worries and enquiries with him or her and tell them about any of your dog’s activity or lifestyle changes. Dogs can be treated for the condition with surgery, medications, or dietary modifications.

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