Should I be worried if my dog was diagnosed with a heart murmur?
If your dog was diagnosed with a heart murmur it was very likely that your veterinarian heard a “whooshing” sound while listening to your dog’s heart. It is not always a reason for concern, but it certainly can be.
The whooshing sound can be a leaky heart valve, defects of the heart, weak heart muscles, heart worm disease, tumors, infections, or so on. Although not considered normal, not all murmurs are a cause for concern. A large majority of heart murmur in dogs are leaky mitral valves and can be monitored for several years before they require attention. However, these types of murmurs in certain breeds can quickly lead to the dog developing heart failure.
If your dog is diagnosed with a murmur it is always good to have the condition “worked up” by your veterinarian. This would include blood work with heart worm test, chest X-rays and cardiac ultrasound. If your dog has a heart murmur and you see coughing, congestion, change in breath sounds or rapid breathing, exercise intolerance, weakness or “fainting,” gray or blue gums, abdominal distention, or lethargy, you should most certainly seek medical attention.