Dogs With Heart Murmurs

Today I took all the gang in to the vet for yearlyt shots and such, and Cricket, my older Papillon (she will be 9 in Aug.) was diagnosed with a moderate heart murmur. The vet put her on lasix & enalapril as well as 7 days of antibiotics.

I feel numb. This is what I lost my male Pap, Jay to in '07. He was much farther along when we caught it, but this still feels way, way too similar to me. He went thru a lot of pain & suffering at the end, and I refuse to let Cricket go thru the same.

Have any of you had a do with this condition? What can I expect, having caught it fairly early? Can I expect a few more years with her or are we talking months?

The irony? When I first started lookin into gettin aa small do, I had it narrowed down to either Papillons or Cavilier King Charles Spaniels… and decided on Paps because the Cavies have… are you ready for it? Heart problems commonly, and the Paps didn’t have as much. So what do my dogs come up with???

Per the pet thread rule:

Cricket, this past winter

They refused to spay our Bichon due to heart murmurs. They wanted to perform an ultrasonic evaluation first. We got a second opinion, and it was corroborated.

We refused to pay the assosciated costs, and have been inconvenienced with periodic…periods over the years.

The dog is 9 years old now and as active as a puppy. I feel no remorse for not having her murmur treated; she’s as healthy as an ox!

PapSett - Grace was diagnosed with a heart murmur when I took her to the vet the first time after she was dumped near my place. She was about 8 or 9 at that time. My vet told me to watch for coughing and fainting, but she never had any of that. Until the congestive heart failure came when she was about 13 she was as healthy as a horse. CHF is a problem in dobies.

Good luck with Cricket, and don’t despair. They can live happy, normal lives.


There are different grades of heart murmurs, mild ones you usually don’t worry about. A moderate to severe murmur should be worked up, ECG, x-Ray and possibly ultrasound or echocardiogram. Lasix and enalapril are the stand-by heart meds but it’s really a good idea to have a work up done and make sure it’s on the right medicines, if it even needs them.

Thanks for the advice. StG, I have noticed Cricket coughing a little when she gets overly excited, like when I come home from work. No fainting, thank God. I went thru that part with Jay and don’t ever want to see it again.

I’m supposed to keep her on these meds for a month and they will reevaluate her at that time. I have to say, after just 2 doses, she is already acting as if she feels better. She’s not as restless, not panting as hard. She actually styed in bed last night, she usually gets out and wanders around the house. Fingers crossed that we are on the right path with my silly baby girl.

Lenny, my late cat, had a heart murmur. He lived to be 17 and if had zero effect on his quality of life. He still raced around, fought with Squiggy, and tried to murder the laser pointer.

THAT is encouraging news!

See… Cricket has never been a playful dog. She Has always been a little rumpy with all the other dos,except for Jay, who died in '07, but even they didn’t actually play together. That all changed when I brought Pap puppy Bunny into the family. Bunny INSISTED that Cricket play with her, and Cricket… played. In the year I’ve had Bunny, I have seen Cricket blossom into an entirely different dog. She runs, she wrestles, she plays tug. She has begun to enjoy life, and it kills me to think that she may have her new life shortened so cruelly.

This gives me hope. :slight_smile:

I feel your pain and am sending good thoughts. My Affenpinscher was diagnosed with a mild heart murmur when he was a pup. Since then it has gone to moderate with coughing fits at least three times a week where he can not catch his breath. He is medicated but now at 4 we think he is on borrowed time. It breaks my heart.
I notified the breeder when we found out and I hope they stopped breeding that particular pair as they said they would.

Your dog is adorable by the way.

Cricket = teh cute!

My 14-year-old Boston terrier has had a heart murmur for several years now. I think she was diagnosed around age 8 or 10, somewhere in there. She has only been on enalapril; doc didn’t see fit to add the lasix so far. She gets out of breath sometimes, and there’s a little coughing and sneezing when she gets excited, but nothing too major. She also has seizures, and the doc thinks this is due to syncope: Her heart can’t move enough blood up to her head, so when she’s sleeping and pops up to bark at the mailman or something, sometimes she’ll flop right over in a petit mal sezizure. Those make her tired and kinda foggy, but she’s 14, so she’s getting a little senile anyway. Her annual old-dog appointment is due at the vet, so I’ll be interested to see if the doc thinks she needs to be on lasix or adjust her meds in any way. She seems to be doing pretty damn well for a dog that old. (Bostons average 12-15 years, so AFAIC, she’s already on borrowed time.)

Her murmur is due to a leaky ventricular valve. I think dogs (and people, actually) can live with heart murmurs for quite a long time without it really being much of a problem. Tough little dudes, dogs are.

Thanks guys… y’all are making this a little easier for me to deal with!

Here is another pic of Cricket, my all time favorite. She’s on the right. On the left is Jay, who I lost in '07 to pretty much the same thing, only we didn’t catch it as early as Cricket. I hope she has some more good years with me.

Dang, those dogs are adorable. Love the floofy ears. Are they barky?

Maybe I’ll switch to dogs with actual noses after I lose my Old Dog. I’m sort of dog-shopping, a little, having vowed to never have another smooshy-faced bully breed again. So many health problems, so much work. Perhaps a plain old mutt would do just fine, I dunno.

My baby Dolly was diagnosed with a murmur when she was … I think 5? Maybe even 4.

She just happened to be diagnosed during a routine checkup. I hadn’t seen any symptoms. I actually don’t remember everything we went through with regards to the murmur…she MAY have seen a specialist but there were never pills or anything. The final diagnosis was that she was probably born with it and it couldn’t be heard until she got older.

Dolly is 8 now and is totally fine. She has always worn out quicker than other dogs when we play, and as she gets older she gets tired a little more quickly. I’ve never heard her cough or wheeze, and if it wasn’t for her itchy skin she’d never wake up from a nap to wander around.

The only thing special I do for her is to not push her too hard, and I don’t allow her to go for walks if it’s over 80 degrees out. She’s very good at telling me when she’s worn out.

Every time we go to the vet, they listen to her heart and report that the murmur still sounds the same (and there are like 4 different doctors at the office) and we’re all good.

If nothing else, this gives you reason to further pamper/baby your little Cricket. And what’s so bad about that? :slight_smile:

Good luck to you both - I’m sure she’ll be fine!!

Some Paps are barky, some are not. Mine have been un-barky; they know I don’t allow it so… they just don’t. Now, Cricket WILL bark when she’s outside, she likes to let the neighbors know just how big & bad she is. :stuck_out_tongue: Bunny, when she does bark, has a very melodious voice… it reminds mme of chiming bells for some reason. And when she ets excited, like when I am servin dinner, she’ll sit down and toss her head back in her best imitation of the World’s Smallest Timber Wolf and… howl. “Wrrrr WRRRRRRRRR!” Always makes me laugh.

They are wonderful, funny little dogs that live to make their people laugh.

Awesome. Their personalities sound a lot like Bostons, which generally fall into two categories: clowns and goofballs. When my now-deceased Boston howled, he sounded like he was choking on broken glass. It was hilarious, once you figured out what that horrible noise was. :smiley:

Anyway, Paps sound like really great little dogs. Maybe I’ll rescue one someday.

If you never are interested, let me know. I know of several Papillon rescues. Unfortunately, they are a prime target for puppy mills, so there are many in rescue. :frowning:

That’s exactly the problem I ran into with my Boston. I rescued him from being a stud dog in a puppy mill. He was a train wreck of medical issues, probably from having been inbred himself, poor little guy. He just died a couple weeks ago and I still have my decrepit 14-year-old BT, so I’m going to take a break before I rescue any more dogs. A long break. :wink:

But I’ll get in touch if/when that day comes.

We’ve got a handful of quite elderly patients at work who have heart murmurs that didn’t get caught until they were pretty advanced, the sort who start having a lot of coughing and shortness of breath and low energy after missing a day or two of meds…and we’ve been treating most of them at about the same level for years. Provided the owner keeps up with the medications, they’re generally happy and reasonably active for their ages. A lot depends on the type and severity of the murmur, but I’d guess your girl has pretty good odds of doing well for a long time.

BTW, how are you doing? I know you’ve been struggling, and worrying about this has surely not helped any.

Eh… Not necessarily. Cats with heart murmurs are different from dogs with heart murmurs. The former may have murmurs that never do anything, while in the later they usually worsen if untreated.

That said, dogs with murmurs that are diagnosed early, corrected, kept on the right meds, can expect months to years of fair to good life quality. It will be a chronic condition, and need more frequent check ups.

If your dog is overweight, now would be a good time to try and reduce its weight.

Thanks for asking! Honestly… can’t say I’m doing all that great. Went back to work today (Posting on my lunch right now) and still MORE than overwhelmed. new shift, new manager, no floor help to help sort out the problems… all I want right now is to be home with Cricket. If I don’t develop an ulcer it will be a miracle.

I most definitely intend to keep her on the medication as long as it is keeping her happy. But I won’t let her go thru what jay went thru. That was a nightmare. I will let her go before I see her suffering like that.

My little girl (miniature schnauzer) was diagnosed with a heart murmur a couple of years ago when she was about 9 1/2. She’s just a bit older than 12 now, and besides the fact that she pants frequently when it is at all hot, she is as healthy acting as any older dog.