Heart Murmurs

Article for the Meadows – January 2020

            The heart is the most important organ in the body. Dogs do not suffer from clogged blood vessels in the heart. There are no triple bypass surgeries or stents needed in dogs. Dogs have better circulation and better diets than humans. The most common problem with older canine hearts are valves that do not close properly. When a heart valve does not close properly, blood pressure through the valve can rush forward and backward with each heartbeat. The leaky valve leads to a noise called a “heart murmur.” This noise can be graded by your veterinarian depending on how loud the murmur is. The louder the noise, the bigger the hole in the valve. Once a heart murmur is detected, we offer a test called an echocardiogram. This test is also used with people. It measures the size of the heart chambers, the blood pressure, and the size of the heart. With this information, we can start heart medications to make your dog’s leaky heart perform better.

David J. Smith, VMD

Bay Road Animal Hospitals