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Dr. Andy
Dr. Andy, Medical Director
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 30041
Experience:  UC Davis graduate, emphasis in dermatology, internal medicine, pain management
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Loretta, I just found out that my 7 year old maltipoo has

Customer Question

Hi Dr. Loretta,
I just found out that my 7 year old maltipoo has developed a heart murmur in the last 4 months. My vet said it can come and go, but is there anything I can do to help the murmur to disipate? I am so worried!
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Dog Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. Andy replied 1 year ago.

Hello,

This is Dr. Andy. I am a 2003 UC Davis graduate and would be happy to assist you. I will wait for your reply so I know we are connected.

Dr. Andy

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
We are connected.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Is there something else I am supposed to type?
Expert:  Dr. Andy replied 1 year ago.

Hello,

In my experience, heart murmurs do not come and go. The onset of a heart murmur, most commonly, is due to disease of the mitral valve of the heart, which is the valve between the left atrium and left ventricle.

What is the murmur?

The murmur is the sound a vet is hearing when a "jet" of blood is shooting backwards. Yes, backwards. Like our hearts, what keeps the blood flowing in one direction when the heart contracts? The heart valves.

More info coming...

Expert:  Dr. Andy replied 1 year ago.

But, with age or due to genetics, the heart valves can become defective or have lesions causing them to not fully close. That results in a "leak" whenever the heart contracts, so the vet hears a murmur. The louder the murmur, the more blood is shooting backwards.

Right now, we don't know the grade of the murmur or the severity. A veterinarian is supposed to grade how loud they think is the murmur on a scale of 1 to 6.

Typically, if there is a new murmur, I recommend some chest x-rays first. Why?

Well, chest can show if the heart has had to compensate for the valve problem. The heart will literally change in size and/or shape.

Can you change the murmur? No

You first need some additional testing like the chest x-rays, maybe a blood pressure, and sometimes a heart ultrasound (echocardiogram) to confirm the cause of the murmur.

Expert:  Dr. Andy replied 1 year ago.

If for any reason it is not the heart valve, and it is some other issue like high blood pressure, heartworm disease, etc...than that can possibly be "cured".

Otherwise, many dogs can live with mild heart murmurs for years, and it does not progress to serious heart disease until much later.

Hope that information helps

Dr. Andy