Worldwide medical and scientific journal for animal health professionals

Issue number 26.1 Cardiology

How I Approach… A young puppy with a heart murmur

Published 10/03/2021

Written by Hannah Hodgkiss-Geere

Also available in Français , Deutsch , Italiano and Español

Puppy murmurs are a common clinical finding for many practitioners. They are typically detected during routine primary vaccination appointments and are therefore found as “incidental” murmurs, although occasionally some will be found after clinical signs of heart disease are identified. 

Ascites in an English Bulldog with severe pulmonic stenosis and tricuspid dysplasia.

Key points

Puppy murmurs are often found, but can vary greatly in their significance.


Understanding cardiac anatomy and physiology will assist with localization and timing of murmurs.


Assessment and accurate description of the murmur will enable creation of a differential diagnosis list.


Early identification and management of many congenital cardiac abnormalities result in a better long-term outcome for the patient.


Referral to a cardiologist is warranted with any cardiac murmur to allow for accurate diagnosis using echocardiography.


 

Introduction

Puppy murmurs are a common clinical finding for many practitioners. They are typically detected during routine primary vaccination appointments and are therefore found as “incidental” murmurs, although occasionally some will be found after clinical signs of heart disease are identified. Owners can be very distressed by the diagnosis of a puppy murmur, and the guidance and reassurance of their veterinarian is essential. Knowledge of the differential diagnosis, and the significance and approach for each type of murmur, is needed to help better guide appropriate management in each case. Referral to a cardiologist should always be considered and offered to the owner if a clinically significant murmur is identified. 
 

 

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