Heart murmurs in dogs are additional vibrations or sounds in the heart that come from abnormal blood flow. A heart murmur is not a condition on its own, but rather a symptom of an underlying condition.
There is no direct treatment for heart murmurs in dogs, but the causes can often be treated, which can reduce the vibrations in the heart. The veterinarian will find the cause of the heart murmur and then form a treatment plan.
How Much Does Dog Heart Murmur Treatment Cost?
The amount of money you are going to spend on your dog’s heart murmur treatment will depend on the age of your dog and the cause of the murmur. If the arteries are constricted, medication and a slight diet modification may be recommended, while surgery might also be recommended if a defective valve is suspected. In case of tumors, the costs can be really high because chemotherapy could also be required.
For example, if puppies younger than six-month-old have a heart tumor this may subside on its own as the time pass or, if not, it could be treated with a beta blocker. Routine examinations are always recommended to evaluate the progress of the murmur.
Depending on the situation, a veterinarian will require various tests to determine the right course of action. These may include an MRI which costs around $1,200, an ultrasound that is anywhere between $270 and $550, a cardiac echo which costs around $320 and an X-ray which costs anywhere between $60 and $230.
It is pretty difficult to offer an exact price point as there is a variety of options for the dog heart murmur treatment. Though, in order to get an idea about the costs for treating this dog health condition, in the table below you will find the costs of some of the most common conditions associated with a dog heart murmur.
|Constricted Arteries||Change in diet – might have to spend $20 more monthly on food|
|Subaortic Stenosis (Artery Narrowing)||$25 to $60/month for beta-blocking medication alone|
|Heart Sac Inflammation (Pericarditis)||$2,200 to $6,500|
|Heart Inflammation (Myocarditis)||$2,200 to $6,500|
|Heart Valve Malformation/Defect||$3,500 to $8,500|
Note: These price estimates are available for the procedure alone, and will not include the costs of the tests for the initial diagnostic. You should add another $800 to $1,700 to the treatment prices. As you can see, if treatment is necessary the costs may start at around $1,800 and go up to more than $22,000.
According to a post on the Diary of a Real-Life Veterinarian blog, every dog which is suspected with a heart failure is sent to a local cardiologist for an echocardiogram, which costs around $650. Depending on the result of the echocardiogram, you may have to spend only $30 per month for a prescription-based diet and heart medications or much more for other treatment solutions.
From the PetInsuranceQuotes website, you’ll find that the costs for dog heart murmur treatment start at around $120 and go up to more than $21,000.
What is a dog’s heart murmur?
A heart murmur refers to the sound of turbulent blood flowing through the separate chambers of the heart – this sound can be heard with a stethoscope and can be either congenital (present at birth) or acquired later in life. This sound can often be described as a “washing machine noise” when auscultating (listening) to the heart. If no heart murmur is present, this sound should not be heard and the heartbeat should sound more like a clear “LUBB-DUPP”, which is referred to as a normal heart sound.
Treatment of dog heart murmur
Since a heart murmur is not a disease in itself, but a sign of potential disease, treatment will depend on the underlying cause of the heart murmur. Therefore, the first step in treating a serious heart murmur is to diagnose its cause.
After obtaining a detailed medical history from you regarding your dog, your veterinarian will perform a thorough physical examination of the pet. The heart murmur will be given a grade of intensity (from I to VI).
Several diagnostic tests are needed to evaluate the function of the heart and the overall health of the body. Your veterinarian will recommend blood chemistry, complete blood count, and urinalysis to assess organ health and cell counts. Chest X-rays will be needed to look at the size of the heart and the details of the heart and lungs.
Once diagnosed, treatment recommendations can be discussed. Some heart abnormalities will require surgery to repair. Other conditions can be treated with medication. Dogs with heart disease will need routine follow-up visits to their primary care veterinarian and/or cardiologist to monitor response to treatment and track disease progression.
What are the symptoms of a dog heart murmur?
Often, pets will show no signs of a heart murmur – it’s usually an incidental finding during an annual physical exam. Although, if your pet has a heart murmur, your vet will also ask you questions about potential symptoms. Answering these questions will give your veterinarian a better idea of how serious the problem may be and how long it has been present. Some clinically observed signs of dogs suffering from heart disease may include decreased exercise tolerance, shortness of breath/panting at rest, cough, fainting, weight loss, and decreased appetite.
If more tests are needed to make a diagnosis, one of the most effective ways to find out if a heart murmur is causing health problems is to evaluate it with an echocardiogram. An echocardiogram is an ultrasound of the heart that can visualize its internal workings and valve functions.
What are the causes of a dog’s heart murmur?
Potential pathological causes for dog heart murmur:
- Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy: A disease that thickens the walls of the heart and makes it less efficient at circulating blood.
- Valve defects: Some valve problems may include valves that do not allow enough blood to pass through them (stenosis), thickened valves, or valves that do not close completely and properly.
- Dilated cardiomyopathy: refers to enlarged chambers of the heart. When these chambers enlarge, it is more difficult for the heart to pump blood efficiently.
- Septal defects (hole in the heart): The severity of a hole in the heart will usually depend on the location and how large the affected area is.
Simple potential causes of heart murmurs that do not affect health:
- Excessive stress/excitement or panting: If a potential low-grade murmur is heard for the first time and the pet is very stressed or excited at the time of the visit, the vet may have the pet come back in a few weeks to reevaluate and see if the murmur is still present.
- Large breed dogs when they are growing: Sometimes the turbulence of blood flow can cause a distinct sound in larger breeds when they are still growing – this can be noticed at a young age and will usually resolve within by the age of 6 months. If it persists after this age, further tests are required.
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