Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Understand Heart Murmurs-All Might Indicate Heart Disease and Only an Echo Will Tell

One thing vets seem to not discuss correctly are heart murmurs. Murmurs can be caused by anything in the heart. Myrna, for example, has SAM-systolic anterior motion murmur. The heart beats by diastole-closing, and systolic-contracting or opening. She has a murmur during contractions of the heart muscle.

Issue: heart murmurs might be an indication of heart disease. An echo is needed to determine if there's heart disease, type, and progression. (There are many things that can be wrong with a heart but most cats with heart disease require meds for the same type of symptoms and outcomes as HCM.) A murmur doesn't mean heart disease is present but you won't know without an echo. It could show up later-as it did with Cooper. He had two echos and then suddenly heart disease appeared. A murmur shouldn't be dismissed. Too many times I've heard that a vet has said the murmur is "soft" or "only" a two or one and the pet owner shouldn't worry. Wose, sometimes if the vet can't hear it, they believe the issue has cleared up.  Any murmur is a reason for an echo, might indicate the presence of heart disease, and just because it can't be heard doesn't mean it's not still there.

Myrna's murmur has always been a two and yet she's had HCM since it was diagnosed at 8 months old, and she was diagnosed with a murmur as young as two weeks old. So, she's proof that a soft #2 murmur does not mean that heart disease doesn't exist.

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