Dog owners do not need to be veterinarians to know that a healthy heart is as important for our furry friends as it is for humans. Yet there can be a lot of confusion surrounding cardiac issues in animals, especially when it comes to heart murmurs.
Dr. Sonya Wesselowski, an assistant professor of cardiology at the Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences, offers insight on murmurs, given her expertise in the diagnosis and treatment of cardiovascular disease in animals.
Wesselowski describes a heart murmur as “an extra whooshing sound” heard during a heartbeat that is typically caused by turbulent or rapid blood flow inside the heart. Some murmurs are considered to be harmless, or “physiologic,” while other murmurs are considered “pathologic,” or disease-related. In dogs, common reasons for a disease-related heart murmur include leaky or narrowed heart valves.
Not all heart murmurs are dangerous, though.