Heart Murmurs in Cats and Dogs


So if you look at a stethoscope it’s actually angled a certain way. And whenever I watch doctors on TV they always put it in backward and it drives me crazy cuz no doctor would put it in backward. “oh, I’m gonna listen” You can’t hear anything. It points towards the nose. Right here. There it is. Now I can hear just fine. Hello Really loud. Hello Today, I’m going to talk to you about murmurs in your pets. Heart murmurs. Not just murmur, murmur, murmur, murmur, murmur, murmur. There could be a systolic murmur. That’s the most common. There could be a diastolic murmur. Less common. And even less common would be a patent ductus arteriosus. Heart murmur, very simply, is an abnormal sound in the heart. That’s it. Instead of a nice, lub-dub, lub-dub, lub-dub I hear woosh-dub, woosh-dub, woosh-dub, woosh dub. But you won’t hear that. You know why? You don’t have one of these. Only doctors have these. Can’t just buy that. The interesting about it is a heart murmur doesn’t actually tell me anything about how the heart is functioning, most of the time. It does tell me that there may be some abnormal blood flow in there. There’s a lot of reasons we can see it in cats. a common one is Hyperthyroidism that there There thyroid gland gets overactive and makes the heart beat really fast and it doesn’t quite keep up. A very common one I will see is really small dogs will have valve problems. So, instead of their valves closing nice and smooth like that. They actually get little knobbly and they look like that. and you can see little holes through them. The valve’s not closing very well and blood sort of flows back and forth. and so when that big left ventricle contracts instead of it all the blood going out through the body like it should some of it goes back into the left atrium. and so that left atrium gets bigger and bigger and bigger. So we have back-up of blood. and if it keeps backing up, it will back up even farther into the lungs. That’s called congestive heart failure. By the time we get to the place where it’s causing congestive heart failure the things you’re going to notice are being short of breath, exercise intolerance, in other words, dogs that normally would run after the ball, they get out of breath really fast. Not wanting to eat in cats is a big one. Occasionally you’ll see dogs that have a cough and that could be because they have fluid in their lungs or it might be because that left atrium is getting bigger and bigger and bigger and it’s actually pushing on the main stem bronchi and causing them to get smooshed a little bit and causing a little bit of bronchitis. There are a lot of dogs out there that have heart murmurs and they never ever cause a problem They just sit there. They call them innocent murmurs. They’ve been there forever. Very often we’ll see puppies with an innocent murmur that goes away at about 12-16 weeks of age. So if a puppy comes in and I hear a slight murmur I don’t get too worried. I don’t send them straight to the cardiologist. I’ll usually say, “this one’s okay. Lets just check it in a few weeks and often they’ll go away. There are some specific murmurs that can indicate a big problem. and one of those is in very young dogs. You’ll hear a murmur that actually sounds like a washing machine. And that’s something we usually recommend go to see a cardiologist right away Thanks for watching. I hope that helps to answer all the questions you have about heart murmurs in your pets. If you have more questions please put them in the comments section below and remember to subscribe and tell all of your friends.

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30 Responses

  1. oneeyedwizardcat says:

    Hello, my cat was recently diagnosed with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) after having developing a heart murmer. My understanding is it is a common disease for cats. Could you perhaps expand on this disease in one of your videos? I like your channel a lot and would love to see more comedy!

  2. J M says:

    How is math used in the clinic/school ? And do you always use chemistry? Could I go to a community collage and still have an opportunity to go into vet school with the things I need to succeed in vet school??

  3. Ava Schenker says:

    Hello Doctor Mike, thank you for all your helpful information!
    My name is Ava and I am fourteen years old. I know that when I "grow up" I want to be a veterinarian. Currently I am working at Tri County Animal Shelter with cats because I am a minor and cannot work with dogs until I am 18 because it is a liability thing. I've searched EVERYWHERE around my state and most say you have to be eighteen to shadow vets and work with dogs. Is there anything you can suggest that I can do currently to gain experience? Much love from Florida! – From, aspiring vet

  4. Tesla Fox says:

    Please do a video on mange!!!!!!

  5. Ashley Walker says:

    My 2 year old boxer was just diagnosed with a grade II heart murmur. She already has chronic kidney disease that we are not sure what caused her kidney dysfunction. Could the murmur and kidney disease be linked?

  6. Eleni ASMR says:

    hello! i have a 12 year old chihuahua who has to get his teeth cleaned and taken out. i had to take him to the emergency vet about a week ago and they checked his heart and told me he may have heart failure and set me up with an appointment to get x-rays done at the vet. the vet checked his x-rays and said that the heart looks fine, although she did say it looked a bit enlarged (but not enough to worry her). she also ran his blood work and everything there was great. she recommended that i take him to a cardiologist, but unfortunately i can only afford one procedure, so it was either taking him three hours south to see a cardiologist, or having his dental work done. i have set up an appointment to get his dental work done this week, and now i'm worried that there will be complications with his heart murmur and the use of anesthesia. the vet assured me that he will have a breathing tube, fluids, a heart monitor, and heat pads around him during the procedure, but i'm still worried. any thoughts?

  7. Elizabeth Ward says:

    My 1 year old kitty has been sick with a URI. During a recheck the vet said he heard a grade 2 murmur and wants a echo as soon as possible, Could the murmur be from being sick, or possibly anemic from being sick? In april her bloods were fine and no murmur.

  8. Golfgtiguy says:

    Thanks for explaining that .

  9. Charlotte xo says:

    Just learned today that my cat has a heart murmur (he's 10) and I'm honestly still in denial.

  10. BirdDana says:

    my cat was put down almost 2 months ago- had him for 6 years (got him as a neutered 7 year old) for about 4 years he'd had a breathing problem. had been drinking and urinating huge amounts since i got him (he was severely overweight when i got him, and had some bad teeth). in the past 3 years he had some facial twitching (i took a video of it and posted it) 2 years ago i made steps so he could get on the bed because he couldnt jump up anymore. in just this past year he was declining, slowly at first, but then he just didnt bounce back after a cat bite abscess- got it to heal nicely, but a few weeks later he dropped half his weight- not lethargic at all though, and still causing trouble as usual. no fever. his breathing in the last 4 months of his life had gotten so bad near the end- i'd been thinking about putting him down since last winter, just knowing that i might have to make the decision at some point. i almost lost him 2 or 3 times in the last year, but always managed to get him through it with supportive care- extra food with more protein and vitamins, and probiotics as well as mixing it with water to make sure he got enough hydration. the first time of the year that i almost lost him it lasted 3 days, he'd stopped eating, was very lethargic, wobbled when he did get up. but i mixed some 'special food' and fed him from a syringe at first, and then he ate out of a dish as long as i put it infront of where he was resting and sat with him. after 3 days he got over whatever he had. the second time was when he stopped pooping- lasted a week and when he did poop, it was hard, dark and tiny. some belly massaging and mineral oil mixed with his 'special food' instead of water had that fixed it in 24 hours and stayed consistent- then was the abscess that healed completely in 2 or 3 weeks. i discovered it, shaved it, wiped rubbing alcohol over the area, sterilized a needle, drained it, flushed with alcohol, then water, then shoved some Hibitane ointment in it. the next day, discovered more of the abscess (was able to follow where it tracked under the skin to its source), shaved, poked, repeat. and for the next week i did epsome salt hot compresses. anyway, we when for his last ride to the vet and they checked him over and told me that he also had 'a significant hear murmur'. i wasnt surprised really that he had more going on than i knew of. if i could have afforded it, i would have had them do a necropsy, but i didnt so i brought him home in a box and dug his grave. he was pampered and spoiled till the end. i think euthanasia was much more peaceful than if he'd died on his own

  11. Myra P. says:

    Hello, my Westie is 11 yrs old and she had to have her uterus removed last February, for it was swollen. They saudbshe had a slight murder back then. She does have a cough now and then ,but not very often. Only when she pooh's, and humps her pillow. Ha Can you tell me if she is getting worse? Emma didn't have a little cough before the operation.
    Thanks,
    Myra

  12. WolfHeartMedia says:

    hello, my 11 year old shiba inu was diagnosed by a vet with a heart murmur, i think he said its not very serious but she coughs a lot when she lays down and she also has trouble/cant breathe sometimes and her body just pulses while she pants but her mouth is closed. she looks very panicked when this happens too but it only lasts 5-10 seconds. shes a few pounds overweight but otherwise is healthy, she still plays with toys and goes on 3 walks a day (plus time in the backyard) though she does like to sleep a lot when she gets the chance. should i be more worried?

  13. Jamie says:

    I just got a 9 week old Shepherd puppy after having to put my older dog down last week. I took my puppy to the vet and the she said she found a grade/level 3 murmur. It's been a stressful week and I'm just worried. What is your threshold or concern level with a 9 week old puppy with a level 3 murmur? something she can still outgrow and live a normal life?

    Follow-up in 4 weeks but that's a long time away, would love a quick reply with your experience. Thank you.

  14. EvanescentTuber says:

    I give my dog flaxseed oil daily.

  15. david anglin says:

    Thank you for making this Video it helped us a lot when our 12 year old Maltese was recently diagnosed with a grade 4 Murmur.

  16. stephan van vuuren says:

    our kitten has a hart Murmur

  17. SimplySarah says:

    This really helped. My dog may have a murmur and I wasn’t sure what to expect or look for, this information made it easier to understand and ease my tension a bit 😊

  18. Bleus Brothers says:

    I wish you would've played the different murmurs without talking over most of the sound. Even with headphones it is very hard to hear because you're talking. Otherwise, very informative video.

  19. flash51050 says:

    Yes you can bye a stethoscope and not only Doctor's have one you silly man

  20. Ellen says:

    haha love the stethetoscope bit. by the way you can buy a stethoscope at any medical supplies, I have one I use on my pets and my hubby haha and I'm not a doc. by the way your tie is crooked. BUT other than that, super info! Thanks a bunch

  21. Francine Belanger says:

    I have a 6 year old 4 pound Chihuaha with a light heart murmur ( I assume it is the common type). How dangerous is it for me to have him put under to have his teeth cleaned?

  22. Fosters Helping Fosters says:

    I was hoping to hear more discussion about heart murmurs in kittens. I didn't expect a demonstration in this video, but I have not found a good video demonstration of exactly how to identify where to listen to a kittens heart and in what position. If you are looking for ideas for a new video, please consider making one of such a demonstration and explanation 🙂

  23. adr127 says:

    What if it's a full grown/older dog and it sounds like a washing machine?

  24. Mélanie Sonier says:

    I have a 8yr old beagle that has a 4 out of 5 heart murmur according to my vet, but where i live we dont have cardiologist for pets. My vet told me to stop exercise but i still give him one 15min slow walk every day. I don't know if theres something else i could do to help him. I've changed his food just to make sure that he dont get overweight, that could be harder on him.. he's 32pounds loll i feel so helpless, i've tried to do some research on it on internet and he already have serious symptoms like the cough at night, runny nose since he was a pup and last summer he was playing with the neighbors dog and he was running and he just collapse. I had to run to him, he woke up and was fine but it was scary as hell. I wanted to know if i should try to get any other test on him? He had bloodwork done for heartworms and he was negative, he also had x-ray for his lungs and he had no fluid in it. Should i get an ultrasound? Even if the vets aren't cardiologist…will a regular vet be able to tell what is happening..?

  25. nana boo boo sunny boo boo baby says:

    my cat always wants to eat but a vet told me my cat has a heart murmur and he breaths really loud but hes also not really over weight maybe by a pound and hes also really your like 2 years so idk

  26. Susan Higgins says:

    Wow, you're awesome! Can you be MY doctor? I swear I am dog <woof>

  27. Core Conservative says:

    We have a 8 week puppy ( Cane Corso ) she might have to be put down

  28. Lisa M. says:

    My male Nebelung, age 12, was recently dx'd with a 3/6 heart Murmur. He acts exactly normal, except he sleeps a bit more and curls up right next to me all day long. He also has chronic diarrhea and losing weight. Wondering if Hyperthyroidism could r culprit as well??

  29. vmina12 says:

    I have a older yorkipoo. He got diagnosed with a heart murmur when he was 5 years old. At that time his murmur was classified as a 2 or 3. Now he’s 14. It’s been stable all of these years, even up until a few months ago. Today it was considered a 6! I was shocked. How can it go from 3 to a 6 in just a few months time after being stable so long. He was tested for heart worm disease; none present. They did say his heart is enlarged moderately. Should I be worried? What could this be? Only changes as of late is its been stressful in our home due to selling the house and moving.

  30. Bliss Sense says:

    My cat heartbeat can't be heard, instead, I hear water but not like in a washing machine, It's like a calm flow. I'm afraid of invasive procedures because of the risks but I guess it's obvious that there's fluid in there, I was wondering if diuretics can really take the water out of there?

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