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Old 10-21-2011, 06:05 AM
 
Location: Florida (SW)
39,236 posts, read 18,773,208 times
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Yesterday my vet heard a murmur when she was doing a physical on my 8 year old (mixed terrier) dog. She said a year ago she heard it and made a note but that it was very slight (#1 grade)....this time she said it was more pronounced....about a #3). She asked about symptoms.....(coughing, lack of energy, fatique).....none of these are obvious.....my dog is very active.

She offered a referal to a cardiologist for further testing.....but suggested I could just watch for any symptoms of distress and address it at that time. She said there are medications for heart conditions in dogs.

On line I found an informercial that recommended treatment with L-Carnitine and Taurine (dietary supplements). Does anyone have any experience or recommendations?

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Old 10-21-2011, 06:15 AM
 
700 posts, read 1,668,336 times
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I have no information to offer, but I hope your fur-kid continues to feel fine. Just a question/ anecdote really...my middle dog has a heart murmur. My friend's dog has a heart murmur. Apparently, according to my GP and later a GYN, I do too. So does my girlfriend up in NY.

I'm beginning to wonder if the scope and definition of a normal heart has widened dramatically over the decades, for humans and animals, but the doctor's (and vet's) parameters haven't broadened at all. I only say this because what are the chances of me, my dog, and 1 other person and 1 dog I can think of off the top of my head all having heart murmurs?
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Old 10-21-2011, 06:19 AM
 
Location: Florida (SW)
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Thanks 3 Dog Night.......I am going with the conservative approach of wait and watch......this girl is very active.....but also very very nervous at the vets......she was trembling with anxiety from t he moment we pulled into the parking lot........Learning she has a heart murmur worries me.....I want her to be in "perfect health"....but hey, I'm not perfect....by a long shot.
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Old 10-21-2011, 06:22 AM
 
700 posts, read 1,668,336 times
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None of us are text book perfect, that's for sure. If text books are giving guidelines as to what our innards should look like, well....eeek!

Keep an eye on your honey bunny is all you can do...I watch mine. She coughs once in a blue moon. She is a lazy dog - a couch tater, (momma's tater tot) really. She knows when she's had enough and I'll have to trust her on that. It has been my observation that meds just seem to lead to more meds, not more health.

And my angels get crazed when heading to the vet too, to which I offer this question...if you could smell every single solitary thing that ever went on in a human hospital, would you ever go through the door? For me the answer is a resounding HELL to the NO!
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Old 10-21-2011, 06:23 AM
 
Location: Florida (SW)
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Again.....thanks for the good advice.
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Old 10-21-2011, 06:30 AM
 
Location: Montreal -> CT -> MA -> Montreal -> Ottawa
16,649 posts, read 26,620,346 times
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I don't know anything about heart murmurs or how they're detected but by the fact that you said that she's anxious going to the vet, it raised a question for me:

Could the anxiety of being at the vet make her heart sound like there's a murmur?

I'm asking this because every time that I go to the doctor, I'm super-stressed. I hate it as much as your fur-girl hates going to the vet. To that end, sometimes when they take my blood pressure (pre-exam), they remark that my blood pressure is high. I ask them if they'd then take my blood pressure POST-exam. They do... and it's normal then, because I'm on my way to leaving.

Just a thought.

But my bigger thought is that I hope your girl has many, many years of good health.
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Old 10-21-2011, 07:30 AM
 
Location: Florida (SW)
39,236 posts, read 18,773,208 times
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Thank You DandJ....I really appreciate it. Since the vet wasnt alarmist and seemed to support my decision to try watchful waiting rather than sonograms and specialists.....I am feeling a bit more relieved. (They detect it by listening with the stethoscope...during the physical......and then if you want a more definative diagnosis....they would do a sonogram at a specialists....vet. cardiologist)

I had the same problem with my B/P tests at the doctor office......so I started a log at the grocery store and phamacy where they have the machine to take your own B/P.......it is still a bit high but much less so than what the doctors office showed.

Once again I appreciate your kind words......I think this girl has a lot of life left in her.....and she is a sweetheart.
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Old 10-21-2011, 08:14 PM
 
Location: Santa Barbara CA
4,705 posts, read 10,126,357 times
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Many years ago when my first dog turned 12 she developed a heart murmur and we did an X-ray and she had some fluid in her lungs but she showed no symptoms and was at the vets for her skin conditon. He wanted to run an EKG and do an Echo and being young and having spent a bundle on her skin issue I did not have the money and figured she was old and showed no symptoms so said no to the test and decided to try another vet. Well that 2nd vet remains my vet all these years later and I love him, he knew the whole story and how money was tight so he gave her enacard and a return visit a few weeks later showed the murmur had improved so he had a good idea of what type of murmur it was and she stayed on enacard along with lasix, never had any cardiac tests and she lived to 14 and by then she had lymphoma too. But up until the very last day she never showed any signs of having heart trouble.
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Old 10-24-2011, 05:15 PM
 
Location: Manhattan, Ks
1,280 posts, read 6,126,605 times
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Hi there. I'm a veterinary cardiologist's technician. My #1 suspect for your girl would be mitral valve disease. She's the right size and age for it and the slowly increasing heart murmur fits too. I have to say that an echo (cardiac sonogram) is always a good idea. It gives the best idea of where you're at. However, if there are no symptoms it's really not necessary. If she were my dog, I would take chest x-rays and possibly have them sent to a cardiologist to read, depending on how experienced your regular vet is. What you'd be looking for is enlarged vessels in the chest and maybe fluid in the lungs, these would mean heart failure (which can be successfully treated for years). Currently there's no evidence that treating these guys before they go into heart failure does any good. Some cardiologists do anyway, some don't. It's a matter of opinion. Probably the biggest problem at this point is that one or more of the chords that keeps that valve leaflet in place can break. If that happens they go into heart failure extremely quickly and can die if not treated aggressively. Most of the time that doesn't happen, and if you take her in to the vet as soon as you notice any not wanting to exercise, trouble breathing or just being "off" that should be soon enough to start treatment. Periodic chest x-rays (every 6 months or year, depending on how quickly that murmur is getting louder) might help catch heart failure before she starts to show symptoms. Either way is probably fine.

College of Veterinary Medicine Teaching Hospital There's a website my bosses put together to explain the disease.
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Old 10-24-2011, 08:17 PM
 
Location: Stuck in NE GA right now
4,585 posts, read 10,812,452 times
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My beloved JRT had a murmur that was diagnosed during his middle years and he lived to 16ish with no extra meds, just changed his diet to a premium kibble and made sure he kept slim.
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