Heart Murmur in Dogs

What is a heart murmur?

  • A heart murmur is an abnormal swishing noise in your pet’s heart.
  • Using a stethoscope, your primary care veterinarian determines if a heart murmur is present.
  • The loudness of the murmur does not necessarily correlate with the severity of disease.

What does a heart murmur mean for my dog?

  • Most heart murmurs indicate underlying cardiac disease, the severity of which varies widely.
  • A cardiac evaluation by a board certified veterinary cardiologist when the abnormal sounds are first noted provides the best care and outcome for your dog.
  • Most pets seem fine on the outside until they develop severe heart disease because their instinct is to hide signs of the disease.
  • All too often, pets end up in heart failure and the emergency room when early diagnosis and treatment could have resulted in a much longer and healthier life.
  • Most cardiac disease in pets can be managed long term with medication. Surgery is rarely indicated.

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Backwards flow across an insufficient mitral valve leads to a sound called a heart murmur.

german shepard dog

How do I find out what is wrong with my pet?

What is my veterinarian’s role?