Author Topic: Heart murmurs in older dogs  (Read 1422 times)

Offline RooRat

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Heart murmurs in older dogs
« on: November 13, 2015, 09:00:40 AM »
I adopted Daisy the 12 year old Jack Russell a couple days ago. She had her checkup yesterday and was deemed fairly healthy except for her anal glands (poor girl!) and a grade 3 heart murmur. Now, I know that they're graded 1-6 with 6 being the worst. The vet seemed concerned, but not overly so. He does the exams in the room with you (as opposed to my other vet who did everything in the back because heaven forbid the owner be present to see what you're doing ::)) and when he was listening to her heart, he listened a long time, then took her pulse on her back leg while he was listening, then moved the stethoscope and listened some more. Didn't take me long to puzzle out that he was probably hearing either a heart murmur or some other very concerning chest sounds :yelcutelaugh:

Anyway, we're going back in December for him to recheck her anal glands (because apparently it was really thick and gross and they want to make sure it was a one-off and not a recurring issue) and she'll have chest x-rays then as well to see if her heart is enlarged and that's where the murmur is coming from (or is it the other way around? the murmur causes the enlarged heart?). He said it's possible she's had the heart murmur since birth, but with her age he wants to do the x-ray to be sure.

Reason I'm posting is that when I try to take in too much information at once, I tend to forget some of it, or I remember it wrong, or I interpret it weirdly, or I Google later and think that's what the vet said and then I get really confused :yelcutelaugh: So I wanted to run it by folk here and see if anyone can tell me if I got the gist of it correctly or not.

What I gathered is that if this is something developing with age, that likely means heart disease - that her heart is enlarged or enlarging. This would account for her cough - she'll cough randomly (almost like a choke) after she's been resting a while (and she has one big fit in the morning that lasts a few minutes but doesn't recur throughout the day). Woke me up with it the first night and I shot out of bed and over to her to make sure she was okay. She worked it out, but it scared me. Anyway, I've Googled a bit (which is always dangerous) and it seems that coughing when at rest is typically one symptom of an enlarged heart, along with the heart murmur.

So does this all seem right, or am I worrying a little too much for not knowing anything concrete? If anyone has experience with heart murmurs in old dogs, please reply! Good stories, sad stories, I'd like them all. I'd like to be at least somewhat mentally prepared when we go back, and it would be great to have a list of questions to ask.

Gratuitous sleeping Daisy picture:
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