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Worried about heart


Well-known member
My darling Guinness was napping next to me this evening when my friend pointed out his shallow breathing. I clocked his breathing rate around 44 per minute (counting 15 seconds then multiplying by 4). He's currently happily sleeping next to me, and berating rate is at 24/min. So the shallow breathing isn't constant. Could it have just been a factor of visitors around and him being left alone (I was skiing with friends) today.

He needs a dental anyway, so we need to go visit the vet. But does it seem likely that I'm going to get the MVD diagnosis, and then what to do about needing the dental...
Aled's breathing only ever got very quick on the actual day he went into heart failure (from a grade 4-5 murmur) - and you would have noticed that if it had been happening to Guinness! Once he was stabilised and on meds, Aled's breathing was never over about 25/min, so rapid breathing doesn't always work as an inevitable symptom of heart failure. But MVD always strikes me as a very individual disease - some dogs breathe shallow and fast, some breathe slowly; some last only a few weeks or months after heart failure, others go on living fairly normally for a couple of years or more. You can only check it out regularly with your vet, and if you are still worried, see a cardiologist, who will give you a more accurate picture. Aled too was due for a dental, but he never got it!

Kate and Ruby
I think it's useful to have an annual auscultation by a cardiologist once cavaliers get older, and I'd talk to your vet. But most likely he was just breathing fast at that moment -- mine sometimes do that; maybe it's a dream? But always god to get an auscultation and have other heart signs checked.
Also, unless hearts are really poorly, there's generally no issue with a dental. Some of mine had to live with the bad teeth they came into rescue with because their hearts were already in a poor state.

It would be very odd for a vet not to have picked up a progressing murmur on past annual exams well before a dog would be in congestive heart failure. Fast resting heart rate is a sign of congestive heart failure -- would be unlikely for it to develop that quickly? Or has a murmur been there for a while? Hope all will turn out to be fine still. :)
Guinness hadn't been diagnosed with a murmur before I posted this (last vet visit had been about 6 months prior. We ended up not seeing a vet over this, because it was just a one-off thing. But his annual recently he was diagnosed with a murmur by 2 vets, and I'm told it's quite pronounced. He is still active an happy although I don't let him run around in the heat of the day.
Thanks for the update, even though I am sorry to hear you have the diagnosis of a murmur now. Did they give you a grade? I've had cavaliers go years and years without any serious deterioration from a murmur. Seeing a cardiologist is so helpful -- even just for an auscultation, which costs about the same as a vet visit. You get very detailed info on the murmur.