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Up Topic Dog Boards / Health / Heart Murmurs and Medication
- By MW184 [gb] Date 05.03.08 13:35 GMT

Just wondering for any of you with dogs with heart murmurs - what grades they are and what medication they are on for it.  Just hearing and reading a few things recently that make me wonder if my vet has made good recommendations or 'till filling recommendations'...


- By Reesy [gb] Date 05.03.08 13:55 GMT Edited 05.03.08 13:58 GMT
murmurs vary, what score was given? scores vary between 0 - 6.  0 being clear, 1 mild anything over 3 should never be bred from.  There's lots of information on the boxer breed council website.
- By MW184 [gb] Date 05.03.08 14:02 GMT
Hi - my vet says 3-4 heart murmur.


- By Reesy [gb] Date 05.03.08 14:05 GMT
thats not good.  Did the vet suggest getting the dog doppler tested? the vet should have given you a score eithera 3 or 4, not 3 -4.  Do you have a certificate?
- By MW184 [gb] Date 05.03.08 14:14 GMT
no he just listened with a stethoscope and said 3-4 - even a deaf person could hear it. 

He is on tablets - one a day of fortekor. 
- By Reesy [gb] Date 05.03.08 14:21 GMT
I would get the dog tested by a cardiologist. A normal vet can't give you a score.  If you PM where you live (area) i can send you information on your nearest cardiologist.
- By Reesy [gb] Date 05.03.08 14:22 GMT
Just to put your mind at rest.  I know someone in my breed who had their bitch scored by a 'vet' who said 3 and should never have a litter.  When tested by a cardiologist she came back as a 1 !!!
- By tooolz Date 05.03.08 15:17 GMT
Dont panic,
Get a canine cardiologist to give you a proper score and then review your situation. If you go to a breed 'heart day' try to call the cardiologist before hand and ask if the dog needs to stop the Fortekor before testing.

I agree with Reesy that ultrasound will ultimately be the answer to see just how fasts the blood is exiting the Aortic. Aortic stenosis is caused by a thickening of the aorta at the point where the blood from the Left Ventricle leaves the heart on its way around the body. Speed of exit above 2 meters per second is diagnostic of AS.

Has your dog had any episodes of fainting, unsteadyness during exertion or such? If he has, especially before he gets 'warmed up' ie 0-60 from rest, then it is not good news for breeding or serious exertion.

If in doubt have a word with someone on the breed council committee for hearts.

Dont worry I have had boxers for 30 odd years (and bred them for nearly that long )and I've never had one die from AS, it's nearly always cancer that gets them. I have an old girl who was last tested at 2 years and was scored 3... she's now 12 years old.Doddery and falls over from time to time but still goin strong!
- By tooolz Date 05.03.08 15:21 GMT
I would also add that Fortekor is a great money spinner, that and vaccinations make up quite a tidy sum.
- By madogz77 Date 05.03.08 15:34 GMT
my border collie zig has a grade 5 murmur, she was diagnosed at aged 3. she competes in agility, is extremley fit and is currently on no medication for it as my vet is happy to leave her as she is, as she shows no signs of suffering with it. as she is still young ( almost 6 now) sandra my vet is reluctant to put her on any meds until she is needing them. her chest sounds like a washing machine inside :-(  i had her spayed as soon as i found out as i dont want her to suffer from a pyo etc later on, and obviously i wouldnt breed from her either.

i think different dogs cope in different ways, zig dosent show any outward signs of being ill in the slightest!
- By MW184 [gb] Date 05.03.08 15:58 GMT

Thanks for all the info.  My dog is a three year old cavalier- he was also diagnosed with hip dysplasia and arthritis - so all in all his meds are - one fortekor daily, one cosequin daily and one rimadyl daily (5mg) and then every six months a course of cartrophen injections. He was also extremely overweight at the time all of this was being diagnosed.  He hasnt ever shown any signs of fainting etc .  I've just heard a few people lately mention my vet in not good terms and seen a few postings where there are heart murmurs with no medication.

Its just making me doubt my vet a bit... by the way this is a family pet breeding not an option

- By tooolz Date 05.03.08 16:53 GMT
Sorry got the idea that you had a Cavaliers and MVD...... whole other ball game!!
- By georgepig [gb] Date 05.03.08 16:55 GMT
tooolz your avatar looks different head on - more fluffy LOL!

My friend has a 12 year old cavalier that was diagnosed with a murmur at 3 years old.  Still living a happy life to the full now.
- By Reesy [gb] Date 05.03.08 17:25 GMT
Sorry tooolz that would be my fault saying info can be found on the boxer breed council lol
- By tatty-ead [gb] Date 05.03.08 19:20 GMT
If your dog IS on Fortekor long term ask for a prescription and get them on line, my GSD was on them (& other meds) and it was about 1/2--2/3 the cost that way.
- By tooolz Date 05.03.08 20:49 GMT
Heh Reesy...... What are we like?  :-)

Unfortunately both my breeds are associated with heart murmurs :- Boxers with Aortic Stenosis and Cavs with Mitral Valve Disease.
- By MW184 [gb] Date 05.03.08 20:51 GMT
Georgepig - do you know if your friends dog with a grade 3 murmur is on medication?
- By baba [gb] Date 05.03.08 21:44 GMT
l had an 8 year old cavalier diagnosed with chronic arthritis and hip dysplasia and his prognosis was not good. Put him on a supplement called CORTAFLEX (chondroitin + glucosamine in special formula) cost about £60 for 6 months supply. After 2 weeks, improvement was nothing short of miraculous and he was going on 10 mile walks until 11+. Other people i've recommended it to have had similar results and as it is a supplement there are no nasty side effects.
- By MW184 [gb] Date 06.03.08 08:30 GMT
My meds come to about £70 per month and that is getting them online...but my main question was does heart murmur always require medication


- By georgepig [gb] Date 06.03.08 10:51 GMT
I think the cav is on medication but I have absolutely no idea what it is.  I will try to find out.
I also don't know what grade the murmur is.
- By justi [gb] Date 06.03.08 18:27 GMT
sorry to hear your dog has a heart murmur, personally I would go to a canine cardiologist, your vet has to refer you if you request it.  Our dog was diagnosed with a 5-6 heart murmur, at aged 10 weeks, we went through all the tests to be sure, and she ended up having a balloon angioplasty operation at just 10 weeks old, which seems to have done the trick and she is on no medication, she was given a poor quality of life of just 6  months without the operation, she is now 11 months old and is just like a normal dog, she swims, plays, runs, etc.  We go back to the cardiologist on monday the first time for 8 months she seems fine and hopefully this will be confirmed then.  We go to the royal vet college queen mothers hospital for small animals, they have been brilliant there for us
- By Red Deb [gb] Date 06.03.08 19:36 GMT
Hi Maxine
Our Bichon had a heart murmer and we were referred to the cardiologist. They diagnosed a "persistent ductus arteriosus (PDA) this is when the valve doesn't close off when they are born.  He had surgery at 1 year old and is now 4 years old and acts like a puppy. Everyone is different and it boils down to the exact cause. IMO it is a specialised field and in our particular case my dog wouldn't be with us now.
- By MW184 [gb] Date 06.03.08 22:04 GMT
so I wonder why my vet never referred me to a cardiologist - i shall question him a bit more I think

thanks for all the info

- By crazyblond53 Date 06.03.08 22:46 GMT

I would certainly question your vet. It is impossible for a vet to tell by sound alone what grade murmur it is. It also depends on the root of the problem as to whether medication is needed. I bought a pup who was diagnosed by my vet on his first check up as having a heart murmur. My vet referred me to a Cardiologist and the Cardiologist diagnosed problems with the mitral valve and a possible hole in the heart. It turned out to be an extremely sad and devastating  time as I was referred to The Royal Veterinary Hospital who diagnosed he had congential heart and renal problems. Basically his kidneys and heart had not developed properly. This problem had also affected his siblings and because of the terrible extent of the problem they all passed away because of these renal problems.It was a terribly upsetting time as I only had my pup for 5 weeks.

I know from the chats I have had with my vet that murmurs are very common in Cavaliers. I have a Cavalier/Springer Spaniel cross and he will be 10 this year and my vet diagnosed he had a murmur last year. He said he would be very suprised if a Cavalier didnt have a murmur in his more senior years. So it may be something typical of the breed. But for peace of mind I would probably have an opinion from a Cardiologist who will be able to see exactly what is going on and the cause. It cost me just over three hundred with the consultation and the Cardiologist spent a good hour and a half with me looking at the heart and discussing her findings.

I hope that if you decide to see a cardiologist all is well for your loved on.

- By MW184 [gb] Date 07.03.08 08:06 GMT
Thank you crazyblond - very sad story about the pup. I shall ask a bit more next time I see him

- By crazyblond53 Date 08.03.08 14:06 GMT
Thanks Maxine, let us know how he is.

Take care
- By danicoops [gb] Date 14.03.08 15:59 GMT
Hi, i am currently discussing with a breeder a british bulldog puppie who has a level 2 heart murmur, altho i am aware it may heal i was wondering if anyone had any information and any indication to a price i should be paying? the pup is due a recheck in 4 weeks (at 14 weeks) Any advice appreciated.
- By crazyblond53 Date 14.03.08 21:55 GMT
Hi sorry to hear about your pup. Has he been seen by a specialist as noise alone doesnt reflect the level of the heart murmur? If you seen a specialist you could expect to pay around three hundred pounds for the scans and consultation. There are many different causes for a murmur. So it really would depend on what was causing the murmur. On many occasions murmurs can be quite innocent and nothing to worry about as it can be the valves taking a longer time to close and they will close by themselves in  many cases by the time a dog reaches 12 months.

I hope all turns out well at your next check up

- By Goldmali Date 14.03.08 22:53 GMT
Maxine, a heart murmur in a Cavalier demands medication when the dog needs it, as simple as that. :) I.e. when you notice any difference in behaviour. My Rufus went from a 0 to a 6 in just months, was not expected to live many months and not make it to 8. He was put onto Vasotop then, and within a few days was a different dog. (For the past year he has also been on Frusemide.) Cutting a long story short, he turned 13 last month. I would never say he's healthy, he's gradually getting worse for every day, but he's beaten all the odds and made it this far whilst still being HAPPY. There are cavaliers that never require any medication for their murmurs. I honestly cannot see any reason for seeing a cardiologist -with a cavalier you can be pretty certain it is MVD and it is a rare cavalier that never gets it. In fact with Rufus I diagnosed it myself, with a cheap stethoscope I bought off Ebay! Took him to the vet who confirmed it. Last time my vet saw him (Christmas) he said he could not understand how a dog with such a bad heart could still be alive, yet here he is. (Sadly my vet died last week instead of a heart attack ...far too young. Ironic, really. :( :(  )

My other cavalier I gave to my MIL and he developed a grade 2-3 murmur when about 8 years old. The vet saw no reason for medication and so we didn't use any. Unfortunately my MIL made him very, very overweight (more than twice what he should have been and used to be) and he died aged 9, just all of a sudden. I think the fact that Rufus has always been kept lean has helped his heart a lot.
- By dimples [us] Date 31.03.08 17:06 GMT
i just found out my dog(pepper) has an enlarged heart and not doing well. she was put on enalapril. can anyone give me more information about heart murmurs?
thanks sheryl
- By katiegirl [gb] Date 01.04.08 09:38 GMT
Hi, My dog (yorkshire terrier) had a enlarged heart (diagnosed when she was about 6yrs old) this condition, as you probably know, is due to a valve not closing properly so the heart has to work harder hence it becomes enlarged with so much work to do.  The dog will also cough quite a bit when excited.  Katie was given the following medication:  Vetmedin daily (capsule, Very Important that its given 1 hour before or after food) this can cause fluid on the lungs (not a lot) so will make the dog cough a little more, to get rid of the fluid is given Frusemide (tab).  Do not allow your dog to get over excited (i.e. running after a ball etc too much).  Katie had to be PTS in October last year aged 14.5yrs but its was not her heart problem that was the deciding factor but a large growth the size of a tennis ball attached to other vital organs and inoperable.  Had she not had this growth I believe she would have probably lived for at least another year or so.  Hope this helps.  Vetmedin is quite expensive and you can save some money by buying from animal medicines (after getting prescription signed by your vet for, say, a 3 months supply) about £28 for 100 tabs inc p&p - a fast and efficient service from these people.
- By GSPMUM Date 01.04.08 12:28 GMT
Interesting post, Ellis has a heart murmur but the vet has never said anything about medication so I assume it can't be that bad.  He has spondylosis of the spine and epilepsy, but is only on medication for the epliepsy.  Think I might just ask about the heart murmur when he has his check up next week.
Up Topic Dog Boards / Health / Heart Murmurs and Medication

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