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Thread: Heart Murmur?

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    Default Heart Murmur?

    My 11 year old doxie was diagnosed with a heart murmur a couple years ago. At first I didn't see it effect her at all. But lately I think I'm seeing more signs of it.

    She sleeps a lot (maybe that's just age?), her breathing is more labored and loud, and lately her appetite seems to be decreasing. I have to make breakfast really enticing or she will just choose to go back to bed.

    When I took her to the vet in December the vet said it didn't give her much concern, yet. We have an appointment for Lyme boosters in April so I can talk to her about these symptoms then. But I wanted to reach out to other doxie parents to see if they have any experience with heart murmurs and how their little doxies were effected by it??

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    Ican honestly say that I don't know any elderly dachsies (or any other small breed) that don't have heart murmurs at some point in their lives. Some earlier, some later. As long as it's monitored and managed, they can live with them for a long time. All of my old guys over the last 34 years have had them, and all of them have crossed for some other reason. However, I'm surprised your vet didn't put her on a diuretic. They retain fluid and it makes it difficult for the heart to beat properly, so you need to keep the fluid retention down. That will also cause the heart to enlarge (think of a muscle pumping heavyish iron), which gets in the way of the lungs operating fully. Fluid will also gather in the lungs, so often cardiac issues are accompanied by coughing. If her breathing is laboured it could well be that's what's causing it. When you go in for your appt, ask him to do a thorough work up on her...keeping on top of things when they get older is so important because it doesn't take long for something fixable to blow up into a serious problem.

    Lots of knowledge on here...please feel free to ask us anything!!! and a whole bunch of for your girl.
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    Exactly what Paula said. Depending when this month she is getting her shot, you might want to do it sooner. A doxie not eating as enthusiastic is a pretty big flag that something needs medical intervention.

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    I've also had several dogs with heart murmurs especially when they are past 10. I have a 17 1/2 year old now that has had a heart murmur for quite a few years and he's doing fine as is the 13 year old also with a heart murmur. Neither has shown any signs that the murmur bothers them. I would be concerned if the lack of appetite went on for too long. Unless, of course, she's being a doxie and has discovered that by not eating her regular food she'll get something better. Little devils
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    Yes, if they think the symptoms she's having are indeed related to the murmur, they'll usually start a diuretic and an ACE-inhibitor medication. She should have a full blood panel and exam though, as it could be something else entirely (thyroid disease, Cushing's, a lung infection, etc.). Cassie had a murmur for years that never caused problems. She had chronic respiratory disease, but that little heart stayed strong to the end. Rayz for your pup


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    Thanks everyone I appreciate all the info and advice! She is not a normal vigorous Dachshund eater. My other doxie, however, eats anything that even remotely resembles food.

    I do wonder if she likes the added treats so she will wait until I add what she wants then finally eat... they are smart like that! But this morning she ate about half and then looked at me with this look of defeat and went to go sit with Daddy on the couch.

    One thing I don't like is I can SEE her heart beat, and it's not the normal thump-thump...thump-thump...thump-thump. It seems like things have gotten worse since the new year.

    What tests did your vets do for your doxies with heart murmurs? Mine said we can start with an xray but then she may send us to get an echo-cardiogram at a nearby University and they may do more tests and the whole thing could cost us $1,000 or more. We are paying medical bills because hubby spent a week in the hospital in February and we pay $600 a month in daycare. So $1,000 is a big number for us right now. A $300 xray is a lot easier to swallow IF it stopped there and they could prescribe the medicine.

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    Before I had a lot of expensive tests done, I'd ask what the purpose of the tests were and if it would change the course of treatment. If you are going to have a set treatment no matter what the tests show, there's not a lot of purpose to having them IMO. If they would affect the course of treatment, then you might want to have them. Maybe start with the less expensive ones. Again, ask what they are for and what they will show.
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    I totally agree with Patrice. A vet should be able to hear what's going on and an xray will give a lot of information about enlarged heart etc. I've never had an echocardiogram and unless she's suspecting a tumour or something else (which an xray may or may not show) I'd question the purpose. Usually they'll give you a range of options and treatments so maybe start there. Keep us posted, ok? And the seeing her heart beating usually points to an enlarged heart. Poor little girl and poor mom!! Is she coughing at all?
    Paula, Heidi,& Buster
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    I work on a cardiac unit at the local hospital.

    Usually chest x-ray is done to assess the size of the heart and also to see if fluid is building up in the lungs. We periodically get x-rays to assess patient condition. Mainly the lungs, because the size of the heart is not going to change much after medications are adjusted.

    Echocardiogram is an ultrasound of the heart. It is the most important test to evaluate how the blood flows through the heart and its pumping function. They can literally "see" the valves and how the blood flows from the valves and if there are any issues. They also can calculate "ejection fraction" of the left ventricle (the most important chamber in the heart that pumps blood to the brain and the entire body). Ejection fraction (EF) is the % of blood that the ventricle pumps out of it with every beat. The normal EF for humans is 55-65%. If EF is lower that means the heart is not pumping the blood as it should and the patient is diagnosed with heart failure. The lower the EF calculated on echo the worst the prognosis is. There is also diastolic heart failure that has normal EF, but the ventricle doesn't relax to allow enough blood in.

    When heart murmur develops, it usually means the heart valves are having issues. It can be due to the valve issues or due to heart failure. As we age, our valves can develops some mild problems and create a slight murmur. When the murmur is very pronounced, it usually starts impacting the heart pumping function.

    Would I do echo on my dog? I am not sure that would impact how they treat the dog, unless you plan to fix valves, etc I wouldn't do it. If x-ray shows interstitial edema (fluid accumulation in the lungs), diuretics are prescribed. It is the same treatment regardless of what EF shows on echo. The treatment for heart failure is low sodium diet, cardiac/blood pressure medications, and diuretics.

    I would talk to your vet and ask her/him why they would do an echo.
    Olga
    Sharing home with Sebastian and Sofie.

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    Wow that is REALLY helpful Alfina! Thank you!

    I will say that the vet didn't say she would definitely request an echo but that it was a possibility. I just don't want to get an xray hoping that it stops there and then spiral down. I don't have a lot of time off left at work due to hubby's hospital stay in February and again, that is a financial burden. Not to mention his mom spent time in the hospital in March which ate up some time off. 2018 has been a trying year health wise. When it rains it pours right?

    I got excited because last night she ate her dinner and even barked at us for treats. Which we promptly gave her- we were just so excited to see her acting like her old self! Then this morning she didn't even try to eat. She looked at me set the bowl down and went back to bed. Meanwhile I'm trying to fight off our other doxie not to eat her food. Then she begged for some of our human breakfast- toast. We did give her a little, which we don't normally do. We just wanted her to have something in her tummy.

    I will talk to the vet when we go in a couple weeks about getting an xray and if we can just stop there to prescribe meds. I always feel like I get that look of judgement. She is a veterinarian and she doesn't have human children, just fur kids. I'm not judging that, maybe she couldn't have children and I know that heartache- we are SO blessed to have our 1! But I'm not sure she understands what it is to feel a tight budget. Other than that she is a wonderful vet.

    I truly appreciate everyone's insight!!! I'll keep you posted.

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