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2882 Views 4 Replies 5 Participants Last post by  LisaT
I took my boy Hartwin in today for his annual check up and they said that he has a stage 2 Heart Murmur and recommended I go to a cardiologist to get his heart ultrasound. They said it could be genetial or a new instance, he is just over 2 years old. Pretty scary, I was wondering if anyone had any experiences they could share with my and what I should expect going into the future. What are the treatments for such a disease? Please comment...
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Try and stay calm until you see the cardiologist, they can give you so many more answers than a regular vet can. I've also found some (note some) vets can differ slightly on diagnosing murmurs as to what their own ears feel it is.

Have you had him since he was a pup? If yes and he's been checked by vet before, it's probably something new or it would have been noted. I'm not 100 percent sure if it would still be considered genetic as that usually shows up from birth. But if you know his breeder, check with them. Have you seen him show any symptoms of having a heart murmur? Like for instance shortness of breath, heavy panting and such? Other question is, is he heartworm tested/negative and on preventive?

Many dogs live with murmurs and they show no problems their entire lives. Others do. It depends on the dog, the degree of the murmur, what is causing it, what can be done, so many factors. If it is indeed a simple grade 2 murmur, he may be just fine with no treatment throughout his life.

I have a 1 1/2 year old that I adopted whom has 2 congenital heart defects that presents as a grade 6/6 heart murmur. I can't hear (I am deaf) but I can put my hands on her chest and feel her heart rythm abnormalties. She has severe SAS (subaortic stenosis)
and a small PDA (patent ductus arteriosus). If she just had PDA, that could have been a simple surgery as a pup to correct it, but the SAS is the bigger problem. Currently she is being treated medically (oral medication). I am waiting to hear from Cornell Cardiologist to see what her thoughts are and possibly take her in for an exam. At the time her prognosis is she most likely won't make it past 3 years of age. (I knew of all this when I adopted her and adopted her so she could live out her life with us).

So definately follow up with Cardiologist and see what the degree/serevity/possible cause is and they will be able to help you determine the next course of action.

I hope this helps some.
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My 13 yo came up with a murmur a year or so ago. She does OK on vetmedin, the most expensive heart drug I guess that they could come up with...
Hi, I'm in cavaliers, not GSD (I'm here for a friend) but because of my experience in cavaliers (which have MVD at approaching 100% of all dogs) and sussex spaniels (which can have problems with PDAs), I have a reasonable perspective on this.

Heart problems do NOT have to be a big deal. First off, most general vets are not very good at dxing heart problems. they can say "yes, I hear something" but they aren't very good at saying much. I personally don't think that's a problem -- it's not their job to be an expert in everything. They should refer you, which is what yours did.

So make an appt with the cardiologist. They may or may not require an echo or ultrasound. You might just make the initial appt for an ascult so see what they hear, plus have a consult on the next step (this is probably the most cost effective way to do this). A cardiologist can do a lot of dxing by just listening. I don't know what sort of heart problem your dog has, but they can give you a starting point.

In cavaliers, the only thing we do is an annual x-ray (or more frequently, depending on disease progression) to monitor the progress. We don't do any meds until we are approaching or are in CHF. It doesn't seem to help before then. So ask the cardiologist what they recommend.

Also, ask the cardiologist about health fairs. I don't know where you are, but cavalier clubs typically have a cardiologist come in annually or bi-annually, and sometimes offer echos at these fairs (by appt, of course) at a significant discount over seeing a cardiologist in the office. I don't know what your financial situation is, but as vet care adds up quickly, if this were an option reasonably close to me, I'd use it as a first course of action. Other breeds do this as well...dobe clubs are another that I remember. Just look around, maybe do a google search, as it will be advertised.

But above all, don't panic. Allie's story is not such a happy situation (yea for her for taking care of this dog, though), but some dogs live a VERY long time with heart problems, depending on what they are. My mentor took in a rescue with a severe heart murmur (MVD) that you could feel on her side, and didn't want to place her so that she ended up as someone else's problem. She figured she wouldn't live long, and could have a good, albeit brief, life with her. The dog lived to 16! (that's very old for a cavalier). So you never know.

Good luck!
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Hey, we are almost neighbors (I'm east of Sacto).

My girl has a stage 2 murmur, but she is 11 years old, and thought mostly due to her age. We did not opt for any ultrasound, etc. -- we will do that if it progress. Right now I am treating with heart supplements.

Ifyour dog has been out along the river, or I think even some of the more natural areas out there, there might be some tick exposure -- and bacterial infection can cause a murmur. So the first thing I would eliminate is the possibility of any type of infection, or heartworm, etc.

For my girl, she has very thick, slow blood, and that puts a definite strain on her heart.

For a young dog, I would be very proactive.
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