How To Detect A Dog Heart Murmur
Knowing how to detect a dog heart murmur requires a trip to the vet’s. Heart murmurs, which indicate abnormal blood flow through the heart, affect dogs of all ages. Some are born with this condition, while others acquire it later in life. Murmurs can either be harmless, or benign, or a sign of heart disease or a heart defect.
- Watch for physical symptoms. Signs that your dog might have a heart murmur along with a secondary, related condition include an irregular, rapid or very slow heartbeat, labored breathing, collapsing, appetite loss, lack of energy and a persistent, hacking cough. Keep in mind that not all dogs exhibit symptoms and that these symptoms can also indicate other conditions that need medical attention.
- Take your dog to the vet. If you suspect that your dog has a heart murmur, have his vet examine him. The vet will check for a murmur by using a stethoscope to listen to your dog’s heartbeat. If a murmur is present, the vet will determine how serious it is based on its location, how long it lasts, whether it gets louder or softer, when it occurs during a heartbeat cycle and how intense it is.
Have tests performed to find the underlying cause. Treatment and prognosis depends on what is causing your dog’s heart murmur. Your vet might refer you to a veterinary cardiologist for diagnosis. Tests include an echocardiogram, chest x-rays and blood work. Cardiac conditions, such as cardiomyopathy, and noncardiac conditions, such as anemia, heartworm disease or thyroid disease, can cause heart murmurs.