Top 10 Dog Heart Murmur Symptoms

Dog Heart Murmur SymptomsWhat is a Heart Murmur?

Dog heart murmurs are abnormal sounds made by heart valve dysfunction. This dysfunction can be caused by a number of health issues, it can also cause a number of symptoms that can be a serious hindrance to a dog’s everyday life, such as dog heart murmur coughing. Here is a list of the top 10 dog heart murmur symptoms:

1. Frequent throat clearing
2. Chronic hacking cough
3. Poor exercise tolerance
4. Enlarged belly caused by fluid retention
5. Abnormal heartbeat feel
6. Weakness or wobbly stance
7. Bluish tinge to tongue and gums
8. Lack of stamina
9. Fainting
10. Labored breathing

Testing for Heart Murmurs

Dog heart murmur symptoms are easily apparent, and your vet can usually confirm or deny a heart murmur diagnosis with a simple listen through a stethoscope. If this test is inconclusive, your vet can also perform an electrocardiogram, or ECG, which records heart electrical function over a period of time. Other testing, such as a chest x-ray or cardiac ultrasound, can also be used to help the diagnosis. A chest x-ray can reveal an enlarged heart in dogs which is another, less detectable common side effect, especially on the left side of the heart.

Causes

Because dog heart murmur symptoms so strongly hinder normal life for dogs, it is crucial to find the underlying cause. Age and birth defects are the most common causes, but others, such as liver/kidney failure, anemia, cardiovascular disease, and blood leakage from valves into the atrium, are also common. Regardless of cause dog heart murmur symptoms are usually the same, making direct cause difficult to detect. Testing for the specific cause is the best course of action for diagnosis. Recent congestive heart failure in dogs can also be a culprit, so dogs that have experienced this should be monitored for murmurs more often than those that have no history of heart failure.

Once the cause has been found and treated the damage done to heart valves usually doesn’t heal. In these cases treatments focused on alleviating symptoms of the murmur are needed to improve quality of life for your dog. Treatments usually consist of medication that your pet will have to be on the rest of their lives.