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Mr. Twister

What? My dog has a heart murmur?

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I went to the Vet today and the vet told me that my six year old Frech Brittany has a Heart murmur. They want to do an Ecocardiogram and a chest x-ray to see how it is affecting her heart funtion. They said it may be possible to treat her with drugs for the rest of her life. They will not be able to do the test till mid October. In the mean time they told me not to let her participate in physical activity. That means no grouse hunting or pheasant hunting until they say she is all clear. He said this is very dangerous and said it need to be watched closely.

Does anybody have any experience with a dog having a heart murmur?

My dad being somewhat old school says I should just ignore the vet and let whatever is going to happen, happen. He thinks all the tests are going to come up inconclusive and that they are going to put her on meds just as a precaution. Do you think I should take her to a different vet before doing the tests? Should I even take her to the vet? Don't get me wrong my kids my wife and I love our dog she is a great family pet and a wonderful hunter and is our first family dog.

Any insight or help in this matter would be appreciated.

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The lab we got also has a heart murmer. The vet said the dog will not have a lot of stamina and may not live the normal life expectancy. Norm pants a lot with minimal exertion, but I'm 58 and so do I. I agree with dad. If you haven't noticed in 6 years it can't be a big deal.

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i am an echo tech at the u of m, and a murmur is something we see a lot of there. There are a lot of different grades to murmurs, and a lot of different things that can coincide with it, but most of the time they are harmless. In most cases it is a regurgitation of blood through a valve the wrong way. It is usually not a severe issue, unless it gets worse. You all probably have murmurs, it just takes the right person to hear it.

In my opinion, both those dogs will live perfectly normal lives. I wouldnt think twice about taking that dog and doing anything with it. I think an echocardiogram and x ray are a waste of your money.

Hope that helps.

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I agree with your dad, the dog has lived 6 years and has been fine, let nature run its course. Not that all vets are crooks but I have delt with a few of them that have run up the bills and give out unnecessary tests. They also like to lay a big guilt trip on you.

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You can use the guilt trip to your advantage.

Many years ago my dog was attacked by another dog. It was Friday night and the only choice was the emergency vet. I called and they said it was $90 just to have the doctor look at the animal. I went down and as soon as the doctor said that the dog would have to have surgery to fix the two layer tear I asked how much it was going to cost. She said that she had been told I was concerned about that and asked what I was going to do. I told her that if it was over $100 I was going to go out and shoot the dog with the shotgun I had in the van. She said that it would cost $97.50 and that I would have to get some meds the next day at my vet, and that would cost $2.50.

I'm sure if I'd kept quiet the bill would have been much higher. I really did have the shotgun and would have put the dog down. The owner of the other dog paid me the $100 so all was well. Ashley lived another 3 years.

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My Old dog had a heart murmur. She lived with it the last 5 years of her life. She wasn't a hunting dog, just a family pet, but she lived to be over 14 years old. used to run and play alot, until the last few month. Never had to treat her for it, the vet just listened to it every year at her check-up.

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We just got a lab puppy this spring. The first trip to the Vet, they said she had a heart murmur and that she would be limited in the activity she would be able to incur. My sister who is a Vet Tech, and worked at the same location we take our dog, told me that most older (more experienced) Vets will not even inform the clients about the murmurs. They just expect that they will grow out of them or something. Anyways, last trip to the Vet, they were able to still hear it slightly. Riley is now almost 8 months old and have not seen any ill-effects in her stamina, energy, etc. I don't plan on spending any money for further investigation until i notice something wrong with her.

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I'd talk to another vet before I did anything. I had a vet in Zimmerman try to wring a few bucks out of me that way. I had another vet do a check and they didn't find a thing. Some vets are just trying to put you over a barrel.

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I think you are all being hard on the vets. Their job is to give the BEST medical care to all pets. It's your choice whether you chose to follow those suggestions. If you had a small murmur you would have to chose to get further testing to determine the extent of damage or simply ignore it until it really bothered you. Whether it's a dog or a human, we all make choices. Some find a pet worth more than the $100 it would take to care for them, others prefer the disposable approach. I'm saddened by the numerous remarks about disregarding sound advise in lieu of frugality or stinginess. I find great value in the love and friendship I get every day from my pets and wouldn't dream of threatening to shoot them to save a buck or with hold treatment until they suffer. Shame on you.

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I hate to tell you this Teresa, but a vets job is to make money. They aren't doing it for free out of the goodness of their hearts. There are good vets out there, but I've run into plenty that had no scruples at all and were intent on running up the bill through unnecessary visits, checks and procedures. Vets in the twin cities really stick it to you. When I'm in South Dakota a vet trip is about 10% of the cost for the exact same thing around here. There is nothing shameful about about not rolling over for every huckster who wants to make a buck off you.

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Teresa, I think you are preaching to the wrong people. I think most hunters love their dogs more than other so called pet lovers. No one is saying that shooting the dog is the only option or that they are going to let them suffer. I personally am saying that I am not willing to pay a vet bill that will get me nowhere. If they test my dogs heart murmur, what will change? I will probably be in the exact same spot I was before. I have made the decision to take my dog out and let her do the things she loves to do, hunt, run, fetch, swim, etc.

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Mr Twister,

Talked to my wife the vet, she says the only way to determine the seriousness of the murmur is to get the ecocardiogram(ultrasound). Did your dog display symptoms that led you to see the vet? If it was just a routine check that led to finding the murmur then you should be alright to go hunting. She says to take it easy though and watch for changes in eating and stamina. If your dog had no prior symptoms then forget the test. Sometimes diarrhea can cause this. Or bad teeth. or any number of things. Go hunting and watch for changes in eating and stamina. Don't worry and shoot straight!

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Mr. Twister, I agree with the last post that said if you brought her in for something that was wrong then I would continue the tests. If it was a routine chek-up and you have seen no signs of fatigue, hard breathing etc, then go hunting. I did have a dog that was my fishing buddy, four wheeler passenger, etc. Had to take her to the vet because she would pass out. After $2000 + dollars found out she a heart problem and a severe heart murmur (they rate them on a scale) that would require a $3500 surgery that she may or may not survive... Said she would probably not make it to 5. Decided not to have the surgery. Had 7 great years and then about 6 months that were not great, as we had weekly visits to the vet for medications, and to drain the fluid in her abdomen that was leaking there due to heart/murmur problem. Keep in mind this was a sick dog. Most dogs with murmurs live happy healthy lives (as do people that have the same issue). I still miss my dog and when I look at the vet bills I had the last 6 months, it was worth it and I would do it again. The vet had many tests we could run but if the problem that was suspected was wrong we could not doing anything about it anyway. I would only do the tests that could have a result that we treatable, otherwise I did not want to know...as there was nothing we could do. Now I am rambling as cabin season is here and my dog is not.

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I have one brittany and was told she has the same thing.

Last fall, I walked about 5 miles and she ran about

15 miles on one wet grouse hunting day. She could have

gone 15 more! If you don't notice anything wrong, I would

say it is a minor health issue and let the dog have fun.

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I have a 7 year old beagle we resued. They paid for the tests ans his is rated at a five which is as high as they get. He was 7 months old then. They said he could either drop tomorrow or live a full life. He does tire easy, but he's a strong dog. The test isn't bad to do so you know how severe it is. If it's up there, then you are best to take it easy with your dog. Still take her hunting cause I'm sure she loves it, but take it easy at the same time.

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Wow! Thanks for all the great advice everyone. The vet rated her heart murmur a 3 out of 5 by listening with a stethescope so I guess that is right in the middle. My vet sent me an email telling me that the tests would let us know if hunting would be right for my dog this year. Since I haven't noticed any changes in her I think I am going to go ahead and take her hunting. I won't take her out all day or anything just a couple hours and we will see how she does. If she seems ok I think I will just keep letting her do what she loves to do. If she struggles or shows signs of fatigue I will take her in and have the tests done. At this point I don't see spending the money if she seems fine. I love my dog but it just seems like the practical thing to do. After having a vet tell me I may want to look into dental work to fix an overbite I am a bit skeptical.

Thanks everybody.

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Mr Twister,

My wife the vet says murmurs are rated on a scale of 1-6. The numbers refers only to how loud it is. The loudness of the murmur has little to do with the seriousness of any particular murmur. The only way to determine how serious your dog's condition is is to have the tests done. Just some info. Good luck and shoot often and straight!

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in most cases, the smaller the hole, the louder it is. It also depends on the kind of sound it is, but Take her out. I think you are doing the right thing.

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