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Jane P
28th February 2011, 01:44 PM
I took Harvey, who is 6 years old, for his annual check up at the vets a week ago. The vet said she could hear a heart murmur and called the other vet in who also said she could hear a murmur on both sides. The both said they would put it at a grade 2.:(

The vet said he does not need medication but that I should think how I would like to proceed with any treatment and return in about a month to discuss. She said they could x-ray him to check for enlargement or send him for an ultra sound. I have no experience of MVD/heart murmurs and would be grateful for any advice. I was thinking about asking for him to be referred to a cardiologist.

Karlin
28th February 2011, 02:30 PM
Make an appointment with a vet cardiologist. :thmbsup: This is a much better option than treating or making any decisions only in discussion with a vet. The fact that they are sending you off saying he needs no treatment, but to come back in a month to discuss treatment, underlines why you want to see a cardiologist, as this really makes no sense. Either he needs no treatment until some more distant point, or he needs it–not much is likely to change in a month, and they should be the ones able to inform you of how to proceed, it isn't generally something you go away to think about on your own, in an area that a pet owner doesn't usually know very well. That's kind of like having your GP tell you that you seem to have a mild heart problem that needs no treatment now but come back in a month once you decide what you want to do!)

You need specialist advice, in other words. A cardiologist will be able to give you much more detail about the murmur, how it is affecting your dog, whether there's a need to do an x-ray (probably yes–to get a baseline image of the heart while the murmur is still a low enough grade not require medication, as sounds to be the case) and so on.

Generally medications are not started until the dog is close to or going into congestive heart failure. . This can take years to happen, but you need to get a proper assessment of what grade murmur this is, and other details from a cardiologist.

Jane P
28th February 2011, 02:54 PM
Sorry Karlin, I didn't explain myself properly! The vet said he doesn't need any medication at this time as it only a grade 2 but said it was up to me to decide if I wanted any other treatment carried out in the way of an x-ray or ultrasound. However, as you say, I don't feel I should have make that decision but should be told by the vet what is needed.

Many thanks for your advice - I will get a referral to a cardiologist.

RodRussell
28th February 2011, 05:20 PM
Make an appointment with a vet cardiologist. :thmbsup: This is a much better option than treating or making any decisions only in discussion with a vet. The fact that they are sending you off saying he needs no treatment, but to come back in a month to discuss treatment, underlines why you want to see a cardiologist, as this really makes no sense. Either he needs no treatment until some more distant point, or he needs it–not much is likely to change in a month, and they should be the ones able to inform you of how to proceed, it isn't generally something you go away to think about on your own, in an area that a pet owner doesn't usually know very well. That's kind of like having your GP tell you that you seem to have a mild heart problem that needs no treatment now but come back in a month once you decide what you want to do!)

You need specialist advice, in other words. A cardiologist will be able to give you much more detail about the murmur, how it is affecting your dog, whether there's a need to do an x-ray (probably yes–to get a baseline image of the heart while the murmur is still a low enough grade not require medication, as sounds to be the case) and so on.

Generally medications are not started until the dog is close to or going into congestive heart failure. . This can take years to happen, but you need to get a proper assessment of what grade murmur this is, and other details from a cardiologist.

Good advice.

Once the cardiologist has seen Harvey at this point, you probably can just take him to a heart check clinic once a year until either the grades of his murmurs start increasing or symptoms of heart disorder develop. The UK CKCS club lists upcoming heart exam clinics here: http://www.thecavalierclub.co.uk/shows/health_calendar_2011.html

Wagtails
28th February 2011, 06:41 PM
Try not to worry excessively, Jane, while you are waiting for your cardiologist appointment. There are many of us on the forum living happily with dogs with worse murmurs than Grade 2!

My Tri came to me two years ago with a grade 3 and has lived a perfectly normal life since then, with the usual food, exercise and TLC. She is now 10 and a half and started medication about 3 months ago, which has also helped her a lot.

Heart problems are not nice to contemplate, but can be managed with care for quite a few years without too many problems in many cases. :thmbsup: