View Full Version : Heart murmurs

24th August 2012, 11:08 PM
Hey all!
I am really well versed in SM and CM, but know next to nothing about heart murmurs and hoping someone can help explain the grading and progression a bit?

My little rescue Toby has a grade 1 heart murmur which I am told is nothing to worry about and very small. But I guess what my question is...do they always progress and get worse? Does it happen fast or slow? And what does grade 1 mean anyway (aside from te lowest on the scale of course).

In other news Toby got a bunch of teeth pulled a few weeks ago and is a changed dog, so much energy and so happy (he must have been in so much pain, I could nearly pull out two of them!). His front teeth also so signs of long term cage chewing.
He also has a grade three luxating patella which we will have to address at some point, but for now we are doing physical therapy to build up his supporting muscles (he was never exercised before) and we have taken a whopping 2.5 kg off of him since his surrender!! He is at his fighting weight of 8.4 kg. I am so proud of him, he looks fantastic. Both mine are fed a raw diet and he is loving his bones and healthy meals :)

Here is a latest pic:

25th August 2012, 01:05 AM
We have information here in the Library section but there's tons of detail on the grading scale and every other aspect of the condition at www.cavalierhealth.org

They generally do progress at least to some degree, and progression can be fast or slow -- no way of knowing. All explained at Rod's site. :thmbsup:

25th August 2012, 03:29 AM
We have information here in the Library section but there's tons of detail on the grading scale and every other aspect of the condition at www.cavalierhealth.org

They generally do progress at least to some degree, and progression can be fast or slow -- no way of knowing. All explained at Rod's site. :thmbsup:

Thanks for this, Karlin. BrooklynMom, here are some direct links, as the website can be somewhat daunting:

Grades of murmurs: http://cavalierhealth.org/mitral_valve_disease.htm#Grades

Stages of MVD: http://cavalierhealth.org/mitral_valve_disease.htm#Stages_of_MVD

Progression of MVD: http://cavalierhealth.org/mitral_valve_disease.htm#Progression

Sydneys Mom
25th August 2012, 03:31 AM
Hi Kelsey,

Sorry you're worried about Toby. Karlin gave you an excellent website to check out. Lots of detail and explainations to help you understand. Also, as Karlin said, there will be progression, however, like humans, every dog and every diagnosis will be different so there is no way to say how fast or slow anything will happen. I don't remember how old Toby is, maybe 5-6?

Did you get Toby checked by a cardiologist or was this diagnosed by your vet. I suggest going to a cardio to get an exact diagnosis and grade. They may want to do an xray and an ultra sound to get a good idea of what is going on. This way they can get a baseline and see any progression. All I can tell you is Sydney's story. He was heart clear until 8 1/2 yrs. when he was diagnosed, by our vet with a Grade 2 murmur. Our vet sent us to a cardiologist who confirmed this diagnosis. He didn't need medications at that time. When his murmur progressed, 2 1/2 years later, to a Grade 4 he started on meds. Then a year later......well you know the rest.

If you want to talk about it, PM me or email me. You have my email address. In any event, keep us informed on Toby. And Brooky too! Hope she's doing well.

25th August 2012, 12:05 PM
Toby sounds like he's doing so well. How old is he?

Following Joyce's example, here's what happened with Lucy: diagnosed with about a grade 2 at around age 7. Gradually progressed and she was on meds about three+ years later. Sje had about 9 months from the point she went onto heart meds, which is noted as being about the mean by researchers. She didn;t have too much compromise to her life for the first three months of meds, but about 4 months in started to have fainting spells and twice needed frusimide injections to bounce back. I added spironolactone shortly after the collapsing spells started and they stopped completely for about 4 months but had to always prevent her from going up stairs and her walks became just short trips to the corner and back. She passed away overnight in her sleep, still curled in a ball -- she was one of the lucky ones as this is quite rare.

Personally I found MVD in later stages much harder than managing my three SM dogs, but then, none of them has ever had severe episodes except Leo once when he fell off the bed two years ago; nothing since. I'm caring for another very advanced rescue dog with MVD that is with a neighbour (noted elsewhere) and she has managed with a grade 5 murmur for three years! She is very limited in her ability now but remains cheerful and lives with a housebound neighbour where she has a quiet life. Upping her frusimide to 3x rather than 2x gave her a new bounce 2 weeks ago, when I'd thought it might be close to her time, so once again it's back to watching for signs of more serious distress. She has been a bit of a miracle dog.

Leo has about a grade 3 murmur now, diagnosed a couple of years ago -- not on any meds; no compromise to his life and he will be 9 in a couple of weeks (9!! Can't believe it :eek: ).

Best approach is -- learn all you can and watch and try to not have it overshadow your enjoyment. He could never ever have progression that ever has an impact on his life. :) I would recommend adding in fishoils and CoQ10 daily to your dogs' diet as these are thought to be good for heart health.

25th August 2012, 11:28 PM
Thank you everyone! These links are really helpful. I turned to Google, but got overwhelmed with info, so having direct links is great! And thanks for sharing your stories, I know every dog is different, but I do so appreciate it.

Karlin, Toby is 5 1/2. He is really adjusting well to living here, Brooky loves him and visa versa. We are noticing he has issues with large dogs (wil bark and lunge at them), so we are going to get a trainer in to help us with that as I have never had to deal with dog issues before as Brooky loves everything that moves. He sleeps a lot, and is a bit "slow" and hard of hearing. He does not have as much energy as 5 year old cavs that I know at all, he would rather just lay at home I think...but we are teaching him how to play, and how to chase a ball etc. At the park though, he just sticks next to me. When he is active though, he seems really happy and shows no signs of issues or anything :)