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and Claws


Dr. Frank Lavac
VCA Wilshire Animal Hospital

Terrier Has a Heart Murmur
(Continued from Monthly Columns)

This is a leaky valve in the left side of the heart. A heart murmur is an abnormal heart sound created by pressure differentials. It’s somewhat similar to the sound created by crimping a water hose.

It is important to realize that the presence of a heart murmur does not equal heart failure. Dogs can have murmurs for years and still not have heart failure. As the leaky valve advances, changes occur in the heart that lead to the back up fluid and blood in the lungs. This leads to pulmonary edema and coughing.

A cardiac work-up may include EKG, chest radiographs (x-rays) and blood tests. In many cases, we often recommend a veterinary cardiologist who will likely perform a cardiac ultrasound called an “Echo.” This yields more detailed information about the heart’s function.

Once the heart is in failure, there are many medications that can assist the heart and relieve the symptoms. My own 15-year-old chihuahua, “Angel,” has heart failure and is doing well on medication.

Dr. Frank Lavac can be reached by calling 310-828-4587.



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