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knstrand
knstrand, Veterinarian
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 519
Experience:  I am a small animal veterinarian
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Ive been told my dog has a bad heart murmur, what kind of

Resolved Question:

I've been told my dog has a bad heart murmur, what kind of medication will he need?
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Dog
Expert:  knstrand replied 2 years ago.
knstrand :

Hello, I'm a small animal veterinarian and can help answer your question about Ash.

knstrand :

Sorry to hear about his murmur. Was this diagnosed by a vet? How long has he had the murmur?

knstrand :

Does he cough frequently or have intolerance to exercise?

Customer:

yes it was diagnosed by a vet. Dont know how long he has had it but i would say a while he is 12 and doesnt like to exercise, but loves to sleep alot

knstrand :

Any coughing? This is a sign that the murmur has progressed to congestive heart failure.

knstrand :

A murmur itself is caused by the backwards flow of blood in the chambers of the heart. Usually in older patients caused by valvular defects/aging

Customer:

no, he does cough but its probably less than once a day

knstrand :

The murmur itself may or may not be an issue at this stage. When the heart begins to struggle, and work harder due to valvular failure eventually we end up with heart failure.

knstrand :

Once a day frequency isn't too bad. If this cough progresses, the next step is x-rays of the chest looking for fluid build up on the lungs (evidence of congestive failure)

Customer:

I know quiet a bit about human hearts just not dogs ..... his breathing when sleeping is erratic, so slow one minute then can be fast, is this a sign of it?

knstrand :

If this is the case, combination of lasix (a diuretic) and enalapril or benazapril helps tremendously. These medications are not terribly costly to maintain either

knstrand :

Some dogs breath like this normally when they sleep. Another thing involved in the cardiac workup is an ECG looking for arrhythmias. This could be what he's experiencing in his sleep.

knstrand :

Depending on the type of arrhythmia, there are medications to help control them if they are occurring. However, they can be elusive due to the fact that most ECGs done on dogs are only a pin point 5 min in time. Just the luck of the draw if this is done while the actual arrhythmia is occurring.

knstrand :

This is why humans wear halter monitors for a day - to allow time for the arrhythmia to occur

Customer:

my vet seems to think he needs meds now with an ecg or echo that will cost me around £50 a month, this seems a little high to me

knstrand :

Did your reg vet do x-rays and confirm that he was in congestive heart failure?

Customer:

no

knstrand :

What meds is he/she suggesting based on what test?

Customer:

she just listened to his heart

knstrand :

I would be hesitant to start anything without at least an x-ray

knstrand :

Lasix can un necessarily dehydrate an animal that doesn't need it

Customer:

to me it did seem odd to tell me that meds are gonna cost £50 per month without any tests. A doctor wouldnt give a human meds without the right tests right?

knstrand :

no certainly not

knstrand :

In some instances I will prescribe medication without certain diagnostics but not when it comes to heart failure

Customer:

If I ask about xrays that is gonna be expensive I suppose. I'm on benefits so its not going to be easy and I dont have pet insurance either

knstrand :

They are usually a couple hundred dollars but it's the difference between knowing if Ash needs major heart medications or not. And whether he is truly in congestive heart failure or not. Some dogs cough once a day and it doesn't mean anything.

knstrand :

Hopefully this helps

knstrand :

Do you have any other questions/

Customer:

yes it was thank you, ***** ***** think of anything else, but have made some good valid points also.

knstrand :

Thank you. Have a nice night

knstrand, Veterinarian
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 519
Experience: I am a small animal veterinarian
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