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Heart Murmurs

Heart-Murmurs

Help! My pet was diagnosed with a heart Murmur! What does it mean?

In this article, we will answer the following questions for you!

  1. What is a Heart Murmur?
  2. What causes a heart murmur?
  3. How do we find out if a murmur is due to a significant problem?
  4. How is a heart murmur treated?

Although it sounds scary, all a heart murmur is, is an abnormal sound accompanying or changing the normal noise of the heartbeat. This can be heard by listening to the heart with a stethoscope. Basically, instead of the normal 'thump thump' that a heart should be making, it might sound a bit more like a 'swish thump' or something else. 

A heart murmur is caused by turbulent blood flow within the heart. In other words, the blood flow of the heart is not the steady pattern it should be.

When deciding the cause of a heart murmur, it can be classified into two categories, either 'innocent' or pathologic. An innocent heart murmur is a murmur that has no impact on the pet's health. Whereas pathologic heart murmurs is more severe murmur that can be caused by a structural problem within the heart or other external problems.

If your pet is still a young puppy and the murmur is of low intensity, we may recommend a re-examination in a few weeks to track whether the murmur has decreased in intensity or disappeared, meaning it was likely an innocent murmur. Similarly, if your adult dog appears stressed at the time of a routine health examination and the murmur is of low intensity, we may recommend a re-evaluation at a later time when the dog is calmer. Depending on the clinical signs present in your dog, we might recommend X-rays, an electrocardiogram, or an ultrasound examination of the heart.

Heart murmurs are simply abnormal heart sounds caused by turbulent blood flow, and treatment depends upon the underlying cause of the heart murmur or the turbulent blood flow. Innocent heart murmurs do not require any treatment; however, regular monitoring of a dog that has evidence of a physiologic murmur is advised to ensure that no other problems develop. If the heart murmur is caused by an underlying problem, the treatment plan will be based on the diagnosis and may include a combination of specialised diets, medications and supportive care.

 

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Pets Health is a full service animal hospital with clinics located in Hilton and O’Halloran Hill. We are dedicated to helping you keep your best mate happy and healthy through each stage of their life with compassionate and reassuring veterinary care.

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O’Halloran Hill Vet Centre

123 Main South Road
O’Halloran Hill, SA 5158

Hilton Vet Centre

142 Sir Donald Bradman Drive
Hilton, SA 5033