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Pet Doc
Pet Doc, Dog Veterinarian
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 7575
Experience:  Veterinarian - BVSc (DVM equivalent). Special interest in canine and feline medicine and surgery.
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HI my 7-8 yr old XXXXX XXXXX has been diagnosed with a stage

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HI my 7-8 yr old XXXXX XXXXX has been diagnosed with a stage 3 heart murmur (following a bout of quacking-coughing). He has this cough every year at this time and has routinely been described an antibiotic which seems to clear it up. Last year the squeezing of the throat failed to elicit a cough but the vet treated it like an upper resp infection, and presumably didn't detect a heart murmur then. He is permanently on 1/2 tablet of prednisolone for his terrible allergies. The (new, as we've just moved) vet is treating the heart murmur with diuretic for 1 week, and he is due to start vetmedin 12.5 x 2 a day tomorrow. I;m worried that a) he shouldn't have been given diuretic with prednisone, b) that the vet has done no scans at all, didn't even palpate his stomach, take bloods or bp and c) that given my dog is allergic to countless things he may be allergic to vetmedin and have severe or fatal reaction. Is it safe to test him for next few days with a smaller dose of the vetmedin than prescribed just to see if he reacts? Should I take him to a cardio-specialist>
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Dog
Expert:  Pet Doc replied 4 years ago.
Hi there,

Thanks for your question regarding your 7 - 8 year old Jack Russell boy Hamish who has been diagnosed with a grade 3/6 heart murmur. It sounds like he has had a bit of a history of respiratory issues and in the past, it sounds like he has had a few bouts of kennel cough (aka canine infectious cough). Given he has a murmur combined with a cough and wheezing, it is very possible that these are related, however it is also possible there is another cause entirely. The Vetmedin is unlikely to do any harm and it would be exteremly unlikely for him to be allergic to it. It isn't uncommon to carry out a 'trial' with Vetmedin to see if there was an improvement, however if you can afford it, I would recommend a referral to a Veterinary cardiologist. Ideally, he would have a full echo and ECG, as well as chest xrays to confirm that it is indeed the 3/6 heart murmur causing the cough and wheezing at the moment, not a repeat of kennel cough of a primary lung issue.

Perhaps you could call your Vet tomorrow and ask for a referral to a Veterinary cardiologist on Monday. You could also discuss his medications, however in the meantime, definitely don't give the diuretic AND the prednisone as this can lead to hypokalaemia potentially. It would be worth discussing the medications with your Vet on the phone tomorrow as well, as if he isn't too bad at the moment and you are going to visit a specialist early next week - then perhaps you could just leave out the diuretics and vetmedin until a definitive diagnosis has been made.

I hope this helps answer your questions and best of luck with Hamish! Let me know how you get on with the cardiologist next week.

Kind Regards,

Dr Edwards