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Discussion Starter #1
Are heart murmurs dangerous?

Months ago the vet told me she heard Homer had a heart murmur and asked a lot of things about his activity level. I told her he´s a hyper-active, never-gets-tired, eats like it´s the last supper in the world type of dog. We exercise every day and on weekends he runs besides me in the mountain bike, and never, ever has fainted or looked like he needed extra air.

She wants to run tests and prescribed a medicine (don´t recall the name but will post it later).

A very good friend of mine, also a vet, heard his heart and confirmed the murmur but said not to worry, that a dog with a heart problem wouldn´t be as active as Homer.

Should I be worried? The tests they want to run are very expensive, and I don´t want to put him through an unnecesary procedure.

Could this be the cause why he´s such a short guy?
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks so much, great article! Clearly explains why the two vets differ. The vet that wants to run the tests is a young lady and my friend has over 35 year of experience...

still I´m left with that sense... should I do the tests? He´s a perfectly active playful hyper lab...
 

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If you feel it is a real concern now you can have him tested by a specialist. My Maltese has had a murmur for years and yes, it has gotten more persistent as he has gotten older. At his last visit they said it was very strong. But at nearing 11 years old, what am I going to do about it now??? He has managed this long with no real effect and no meds. I have noticed over the last year when he gets overly excited during play it starts to cough a little but he just settles himself back down. Aside from that most people can't get over the fact he is that old. He looks and still acts young.
 

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I've not read the article posted, but just wanted to say from personal experience that most heart murmers are not bad.... with that being said, they can become "bad" however in some instances. For example, if your dog were to suffer an infection that was not caught or left untreated, it could very well migrate to the bloodstream and the bacteria could congregate in the faulty valve where it can then destroy the valve itself. This happened to my mom, not to my dog. The bacteria literally chewed her valve. She lived with a heart murmer for most of her life, she lived with a chewed up valve for about 10 years before the valve failed and she needed to get it replaced. She's still alive and kicking so... my point is... I think your dog will be fine :)
 

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Murmurs can be no big deal or they can significantly shorten the life expectancy of a dog. Did they tell you the murmur grade or exactly where it was? Labs are prone to Tricuspid Valve Dysplasia (TVD). The progression of TVD is generally a happy, energetic dog until the heart begins to fail.

If I was you and had the ability to afford it, I would get the ECG done (I'm assuming that's what they want to do) - but that's just me personally. I hope it's a totally benign murmur, whatever you decide to do.
 

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We have a 14.5 YO Shih Tzu, Windsor, who has had on for at least 5 years. He gets Enalapril twice a day.

he is a lot slower these days, BUT he is 14!
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Thanks all for the advice. The first vet prescribed the Enalapril but I first wanted to check with my friend for his advice. He said to go ahead and give it to him.

I think I will schedule the electrocardiogram and the torax x-ray. I´d rather know what to expect than save 100 dlls.

I´ve been wondering if this might be the reason why he is so short (he´s the same size as Misha and she´s a small girl).

What affects me is the idea of having to live with a sick dog all his life again. I already went through life with a dog with HD and it is very frustrating that no matter what you do things only get worse in time.

This is a very active happy dog, I can´t imagine having to limit his excercise and not taking him with me on weekends mountain biking, he loves it.
 

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get the tests
give him his meds and enjoy what you do with him
(in all liklihood)

I have had many animals with heart murmers - the great majority of the time they are no real problem for many many years - and certainly don't restrict activity or anything
 
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is he symptomatic? now this is just me, but if he is living life just fine without meds I personally would not give them. I have had two dogs with heart conditions. The first a Lhasa and my Maltese. The Lhasa had a murmur early on just like my Maltese. Neither of them were/have been medicated for it. The Lhasa lived to be 16 years old. In her later years was diagnosed with congestive heart failure but still managed to live several more years until old age set in. Hearing loss, vision loss and then later loss of control of her bowels and bladder. That was when we put her to sleep. But we never used any meds for her.
Kramer is going on 11 and is still showing so signs of complications and we are chosing not to medicate.
 
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