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I want to start out by saying I am not angry with my breeder, nor am I upset with or blame her. No one can guarantee nothing will happen to a puppy. She has been very supportive and wants to be kept in the loop for the diagnosis. Katsus mother was spayed after her litter, so I do not think there will be a repeat of this issue. I’ve never heard of any of her dogs having this problem. I’m just looking to see if anyone else has a similar experience or has heard of it before.

So...story time.

Katsu chipped one of her incisors this week on either a bone, antler, or yaki stick, and we made an appointment with a board certified veterinary dentist to attempt to save the tooth.

We went in for the appointment, had Katsu weighed, examined teeth, then vet did the heart check with the stethoscope. She was quiet for a while, listening. After a few minutes she said she was going to take Katsu into the back to see if she can’t get a better listen. They go away for about 3 minutes and return to tell me Katsu has a heart murmur. She says she can’t pull the tooth today (although shows me quotes) says I should be seen by a cardiologist today and have the tooth pulled Monday.

Naturally, I am skeptical, beyond upset, and feel rushed. I message my breeder (She was skeptical as well, but asked to be kept in the loop).

I ended up canceling the dental work and going to my regular vet for a second opinion.

My regular vet understood why we were skeptical and agreed that it seemed rushed. She also agrees with the dental vet but states that you can only hear the murmur when Katsu is “excited” and also recommended seeing a cardiologist. She took her into the back to see the kennelled dogs and came back to tell me this. Since the only board certified cardiologists are closed on weekends, we will be calling Monday to set up and appointment.

Has anyone heard/experienced something like this? We’ve seen 5 different vets from 3 different practices and only now is it surfacing.

I am beyond upset. Katsu is the love of my life and I worry about her health/wellbeing. I’m now worried about whether Dock Diving, FastCATs, and Agility will be struck off our to do lists. I don’t want to put her in a situation if her heart is bad.

We (the breeder and I) had been floating the idea of breeding her once if her health checked out - obviously this is not going to happen now. I will still wait until she’s 2-3 to spay though.

We feed Victor Select Nutra Pro Active Dog and Puppy. We exercise and train almost every day.

I’m hoping the cardiologist has some answers next week. My vet told me to try to not worry until she can be seen, but I can’t help it.
 

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So a cardiologist is a good idea.

But, K9 Flow murmurs are common and not indicative of heart disease. When the dog gets excited, their heart rate speeds up, causing the blood to be moved quicker through the chambers and valves and causes turbulence which is heard as a murmur.

A murmur in and of itself is just a sound. It's subjective and does not automatically imply that there is a functional or structural problem with the heart.

The cardiologist will be able to tell you if this is an innocent flow murmur or something else. They will measure all chambers, and flow velocities and pressures in the heart.

Do not panic.
 

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So a cardiologist is a good idea.

But, K9 Flow murmurs are common and not indicative of heart disease. When the dog gets excited, their heart rate speeds up, causing the blood to be moved quicker through the chambers and valves and causes turbulence which is heard as a murmur.

A murmur in and of itself is just a sound. It's subjective and does not automatically imply that there is a functional or structural problem with the heart.

The cardiologist will be able to tell you if this is an innocent flow murmur or something else. They will measure all chambers, and flow velocities and pressures in the heart.

Do not panic.
Thank you! I believe my regular vet mentioned something like this but anytime I’m given somewhat negative news, things go in one ear and out the other.

I will try not to panic.
 

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Deep breath. Some murmurs are innocent and don't impact the dog's life. Others are life-threatening. Some are congenital, others are acquired by some other disease state. The cardiologist will help you sort all this out. Odds are in your favor (just simple probabilities) that it's minor! I think this is a pretty good explainer:

Heart Murmurs in Dogs



I've known many, many adult dogs that developed heart murmurs due to heartworm disease -- so it's certain that they can be there one day, and not be there the next when some underlying disease process is there. Then the murmur goes away as we treat the disease. There's a ton of different potential causes for one though!



When it's there, a trained ear hears it instantly so I wouldn't be surprised for a good vet to catch it almost immediately once they put the stethoscope on the dog and notice it. It's a distinctive sound that they recognize. Now it's just a matter of figuring out cause.


As for the excitement part, it really makes sense, doesn't it? When excited, the heart is pumping harder (more blood volume moving), so it's easier for our poor human ears to hear the "woosh" of the blood moving when the valve's not working properly on one side. It could even be a very small problem, where it's simply not big enough to hear when the dog's heart isn't pumping hard.


Did the regular vet grade the murmur, based on the sound? There's a scale they use to categorize how severe it is.
 

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What area do you live in? I work fir a vet cardiologist. Just wondering if you will end up coming to my practice.
 

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What area do you live in? I work fir a vet cardiologist. Just wondering if you will end up coming to my practice.
I live in Severn, MD. I will be trying to schedule an appointment with CVCA at their Columbia or Annapolis offices (which ever can see me first).

Did the regular vet grade the murmur, based on the sound? There's a scale they use to categorize how severe it is.

The regular vet didn't grade it. I'm hoping it's something innocent, I'll keep my fingers crossed at the appointment.
 

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What area do you live in? I work fir a vet cardiologist. Just wondering if you will end up coming to my practice.
I live in Severn, MD. I will be trying to schedule an appointment with CVCA at their Columbia or Annapolis offices (which ever can see me first).

Did the regular vet grade the murmur, based on the sound? There's a scale they use to categorize how severe it is.

The regular vet didn't grade it. I'm hoping it's something innocent, I'll keep my fingers crossed at the appointment.
Yup. I work with CVCA! But not those offices. Lol. They will treat you right, I promise!
 
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I wanted to update this so others that may have the issue will be able to find some information.

We just got back from the cardiologist and have a diagnosis of a mild case of Subvalvular Aortic Stenosis. The doctor believes she should lead a normal, happy life. He said we can continue our sports for now and we should have a re-evaluation in 1 year. He also recommended to not breed her as this is inherited.

I have informed my breeder of the diagnosis and prognosis.
 

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Well not the news we were hoping for, but not terrible. Most dogs with mild SAS live perfectly normal lives. Hope they treated you well at CVCA!
 

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Well not the news we were hoping for, but not terrible. Most dogs with mild SAS live perfectly normal lives. Hope they treated you well at CVCA!
Yes, they treated us wonderfully. I just wished it wasn’t something genetic. The possibility that it may get worse worries me.

The cardiologist mentioned they haven’t found the genetic marker for this disease in the GSD - does anyone know of a genome project that might be looking for something like this? If I can help by sending in her DNA to develop a test to screen for this, I’d be more than willing to do so.
 
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