Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment of Heart Murmurs in Dogs

Heart Murmurs in Dogs

Image Credit:Doug Bawden

When using a stethoscope to listen to your dog’s heartbeat, your veterinarian may detect an unusual or additional sound, which is known as a heart murmur. cardiac murmurs in dogs are typically a sign of an underlying cardiac disease that needs additional testing and care. The common origins, symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment choices for heart murmurs in canine companions will all be discussed in this post.

What causes canine heart murmurs?

Heart Valve Disease:

 Dogs with valvular heart disease, particularly mitral valve disease, are more likely to experience heart murmurs. The heart valves swell and become less effective at closing, which permits blood to flow backward over time. The irregular blood flow causes a cardiac murmur.

Congenital cardiac problems in your dog, such as gaps between the heart’s chambers, can cause turbulent blood flow and, as a result, a heart murmur.


 The heart must beat more quickly to deliver enough oxygen when red blood cell numbers are low due to blood loss, illness, or starvation. A murmur occasionally results from this added tension.

Heart Murmurs in Dogs 2

Image Credit:Trish 


Your dog’s heart rate and metabolic rate will increase due to an overactive thyroid gland, which will also put more strain on the heart and may result in a murmur.

Having heartworms:

 A murmur may be audible as a result of the larvae’s potential to harm heart tissue, alter blood flow, and cause valve leakage. But not every sick dog will have one.

Canine Heart Murmur Symptoms

In dogs, many cardiac murmurs, particularly minor ones, go undetected. However, more severe murmurs from valvular disease or other causes can occasionally induce symptoms like:

• Coughing or difficulty breathing
• Exercise intolerance
• Loss of appetite
• Weight loss
• Fainting or collapse
• Fluid buildup in the abdomen
• Blue or pale gums
• Weakness
• Irregular heartbeats

Diagnosis and Testing for Heart Murmurs in Dogs

After detecting a heart murmur on physical exam,diagnostic tests are often recommended:

• Chest x-rays evaluate heart size and shape plus lung congestion
• ECG/EKG detects abnormal heart rhythms
• Echocardiogram uses ultrasound to assess heart valves and function
• Blood tests screen for anemia, thyroid issues and more
• Possible heartworm testing if unprotected

The management and treatment of canine heart murmurs

Depending on the underlying cause, treatment may entail:

• Medications to manage symptoms like fluid buildup and lower blood pressure
• Heartworm preventatives
• Diet changes
• Fluid therapy
• Surgery to repair structural defects
• Activity restriction based on severity
• Monitoring for changes in mild cases

Heart Murmurs in Dogs 3

Image Credit:Roman Peregontsev

Although cardiac murmurs cannot be healed, treatment tries to minimize symptoms, postpone advancement, and prolong your dog’s quality of life. The best results come from a personalized approach incorporating medication, dietary modifications, and lifestyle adjustments. The majority of dogs with heart murmurs live contentedly for years after being diagnosed with it with early detection and the right care.

In conclusion, while many heart murmurs go untreated, those brought on by more serious health conditions benefit from diagnostic testing, medication optimization, and customized lifestyle modifications that specifically address the underlying illness. The best chance for your dog to successfully manage a heart murmur over the long term is to work closely with your veterinarian and adhere to their advice.