Answered by Dr. Jean Hofve
Well, heart murmurs are just a sign of turbulence in the blood flow of the heart where there should be smooth, quiet flow. But, a heart murmur is nearly a symptom and not a cause of disease or a disease by itself. In puppies, murmurs are very common. Most of them are innocent murmurs and don’t mean anything in terms of heart function. Most puppies will outgrow them.
In giant breed dogs in particular though, heart murmurs can be an early sign of heart disease. If there is backward flow through one of the valves, that causes the turbulence that your veterinarian can hear through the stethoscope. That can be an early warning sign of a more serious disease.
The best way to know what’s going on in your dog’s heart, whether it’s something you need to worry about and needs treatment, or whether it’s just a minor little something that your dog isn’t going to have any problems with, is through echocardiography. An echo is a form of ultrasound, and it looks at the heart in real-time. It can detect turbulence within the heart and discover where it’s coming from as well as whether it’s something to be worried about or not. So when in doubt, echocardiography is your best bet.
Hi! I’m Doctor Jean Hofve, a licensed veterinarian with HolisticActions!. Thanks, I hope this helps! Take care.
- Early detection through vet exam and echocardiography
- Treating underlining condition (it could be hypothyroidism, heartworm, anemia, or heart defect)
- Murmur detected through the stethoscope
- If you see symptoms like coughing, congestion, change in breath sounds or rapid breathing,
exercise intolerance, weakness or “fainting,” gray or blue gums – seek medical attention.
DISCLAIMER: Holistic Actions! does not provide advice on certified medical treatments. Content is intended for informational purposes only and to equip you with the tools needed for Holistic Medical Decision Making (HMDM). It is not a substitute for clinical assessment, diagnosis, or treatment. Never use content found on the Holistic Actions! website as the basis for ignoring advice from your veterinarian to seek treatment. If you think you may have a veterinary emergency, please call your vet or an animal hospital immediately.
Holistic veterinarian and author Dr. Jean Hofve has more than 20 years’ experience in integrative veterinary medicine. She has a passion for feline health and nutrition, and has intensively studied and researched pet nutrition and the pet food industry since the early 1990s.
She has written books, dozens of articles and been interviewed for print, radio, and television around the world. She is an advisor to AAFCO, the organization that sets standards for pet food production, and founder of Spirit Essences (now owned and operated by Jackson Galaxy), which makes flower essence remedies for many animal health and behavior problems.