My friends puppy of 5 months has just been diagnosed with a grade 6 heart murmur. What are her treatment options and chances for survival?
Did waiting a few months to take her to the vet cause a death sentence for her dog?
It is a border collie, always had a fast heart, hyper that was why she didn't suspect anything
A grade 6 murmur is so severe that it is audible without even having to use a stethescope. Many murmurs that are mild to moderately severe will disappear as the puppy grows, so waiting for a few months to see how things go is the usual course that is taken. Often the puppy outgrows the murmur and neither surgery nor medicine is needed. It's difficult to say whether or not waiting has endangered the life of the dog, because there are still avenues of treatment that can be taken.
The key to successfully managing a heart murmur, unless it can be corrected surgically, is to keep the dog's blood pressure as low as possible. There is a human drug called Enalapril (sp?) that has been approved for use in veterinary medicine that can be given to dogs to maintain their blood pressure at a safe level for a dog with a murmur. You want to keep the dog as quiet as possible, which is going to be no easy task with a border collie. The more active the dog is, the more tired he is going to get. The most severe risk for a dog with a heart murmur is undergoing any kind of surgical procedure (other, of course, than one to correct the defect in the heart if it is determined to be possible) and having to be put under anesthesia. As long as they don't have to be anesthetized, many dogs with a grade 6 have lived to ripe old ages, but again, it's important to try to limit their physical activity.
At five months of age, if the murmur has not lessened considerably, and if the dog's resting heartbeat is up over 100 beats a minute, it's probably time to consider instituting treatment. A visit to the vet is in order to have the murmur re-evaluated, and to see what medication he feels the dog should be put on. The vet can also advise what kind of exercise would be acceptable to the dog. It might be best to try to find a canine cardiologist. Even better might be to take the dog to a veterinary college for treatment, since he will receive state of the art treatment, often at reduced cost because he is helping veterinary students to learn while he is being treated. Even though it will be students working on the dog, they will be under the watchful eye of their veterinary professors and won't be able to make a move without their approval, so don't worry that unskilled students will be working on the dog. Please post and let us know how it goes with this puppy. I'm very interested in knowing. Good luck!
She is very excitable when interacting with people and that is when it can be heard without stethescope. She gave the dog to a rescue that can afford treating her. She goes to a cardiogram next week and they aren't sure if she will survive.
The prognosis is not looking good, but she is praying as am I.
I had a little chi that was diagnosed with a heart murmur. I ended up having to take her to a cardio specialist who placed her on Lasix, Enapril and Digoxin. Unfortunately, though, it didn't get any better and I didn't want her to suffer. I do hope and pray that yours being a puppy will get better though. Keeping you and yours in our hopes and prayers.....................
I adopted Otto when he was 8 months old who had a grade 6 heart murmur and he was given 2 months to live. I was told to keep him on a leash, watch his diet, basically to never have any fun. First thing I did was throw away the leash. He lived, played and ran like crazy. I figured if he had a heart attack running then he had lived. He was on diaretics (very inexpensive) that helped keep the fluid out of his lungs. My litte O passed away quietly today. He was 4 1/2 years old. Tell you friend to enjoy, live, laugh and love each moment with her puppy. My time with Otto will be with me always
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