CBD oil for heart murmur in dogs can shorten their life expectancy and cause dog heart failure. Learn about the different causes and treatments available for you and your dog that had a heart murmur. Expert Q&A: Veterinarian Dr. Antje Joslin Dogtopia’s Veterinarian Dr. Antje Joslin answered your questions about dog health, including how to reduce your dog’s anxiety, heart murmurs, the best Being a pet parent – hearing your dog has a heart murmur can be a scary and confusing thing. Thankfully, there are natural ways to help!
Heart Murmur in Dogs Grades, Life Expectancy and Dog Heart Failure
Heart Murmur in Dogs Grades, Life Expectancy and Dog Heart Failure
A heart murmur is an abnormal sound indicating turbulence in the flow of blood. While it’s not a disease it can indicate heart trouble. Some of the conditions that can be shown is endocarditis, valve abnormalities, or stenosis. If you hear a vibration or a sound that is coming from the heart it can indicate a heart murmur.
Causes of Heart Murmurs in Dogs
A heart murmur is different than a heart failure, but can pose potential life-threatening risks. Implications of a heart murmur can mean that the heart is having issues can lead into dog heart failure. Dog Heart Murmur can be inherited at birth, but is also known to be acquired as dogs age. Cavalier King Charles Spaniel’s have a very high risk of developing a murmur.
Dog breeders typical use dogs with healthy hard, but it is difficult to guarantee that dog heart murmur won’t exist or become a problem.
Here is a list of some causes of dog heart murmur
- Abnormality of the heart
- Swelling/Inflammation of the heart
- Incomplete closing of a valve
- Narrowing of the arteries
Diagnosis of Dog Heart Murmurs Can Show Possible Life Expectancy
Heart murmur for dogs is graded on a scale of 1 – VI and is based off of the sound and vibration of the heart murmur. Below we’ll highlight the different grades and a brief explanation of each.
- Grade I: Barely audible a vet would barely be able to notice the sounds or vibration.
- Grade II: Soft, but noticeable if the vet uses a stethoscope.
- Grade III: Heart murmurs related to mechanics of blood circulation are minimum Grade III
- Grade IV: Loud murmur
- Grade V: Very loud murmur. The vibration can be felt through the chest.
- Grade VI: The vibration will be felt through the dog’s chest wall and it will be very loud
Some medical imagine may also be needed to properly diagnose the underlying cause of the heart murmurs. Several conditions can be tied with heart murmurs such as valve abnormality, swelling or inflammation of the heart. An ultrasound can be used to detect these medical issues.
Usually puppies or younger dogs will have a Grade 1 heart murmur which does not signify any illness, but should still be checked out by your vet.
Dog Heart Murmurs Treatment Can Help With Life Expectancy
When being diagnoses with heart murmurs it is usually an indicator that it is a condition of the heart and the surrounding arteries. Various treatments can be used or provided, but usually we want to find out the cause of the heart murmur or the underlying issue to properly diagnose it and treat it. Sometimes this involved a change in diet and exercise . Other times it could be a small heart or valve defects that can cause a quiet murmur, but then medical imaging would be used to find out the serious defect of the condition.
CBD Oil for Dogs and Heart Murmur Life Expectancy
CBD Oil is for dogs is typically used for dog heart murmurs, but not as a cure all medicine. It is a health supplement that promotes good health and a healthy balance in the body. CBD oil is used to activate the Endocannabinoid receptors inside of your dogs nervous systems which allows them to stay calm, have less anxiety and control inflammation. The most important role CBD oil can play for dogs with heart murmur is its anti-inflammatory properties which reduce swelling and inflammation in the heart.
Dog heart murmur life expectancy varies on the age of your dog and the severity of the condition. If it leads to dog heart failure than the life expectancy will vary. CBD oil will not ensure that your dogs life expectancy will be prolonged, but it will help manage the pain and lower the symptoms making life easier for your dog. It is a supplement that will help with relief during this hard time.
Expert Q&A: Veterinarian Dr. Antje Joslin
Dogtopia’s Veterinarian Dr. Antje Joslin answered your questions about dog health, including how to reduce your dog’s anxiety, heart murmurs, the best dog treats and more. Watch her Q&A session and see her answers below:
Q: Can I give my dog CBD oil for anxiety?
There is some anecdotal evidence that CDB may help with anxiety. There are a lot of products on the market but currently, there isn’t any good clinical research available as it is still a Schedule I drug. Colorado State University is currently running efficacy tests on cannabinoids for epilepsy, which could pave the way for future research and determine guidelines for its use with specific conditions. In the meantime, there are some good natural supplements like Solliquin and Zylkene that work in many patients with mild anxiety. Since these are natural products, they need to be given for 4-6 weeks before changes are noticed. Prescription products that are used to treat anxiety work well in conjunction with behavioral modification. It is worth looking into finding a veterinarian interested in behavior work or a boarded veterinary behaviorist to make a plan for your dog that would include supplements, medications, if needed, and a training program to work with your dog. If your dog has a storm phobia or other noise aversions there are also great medications that can help. Dogs who suffer with anxiety have many different options to help, but it is rarely as easy as popping a pill or taking an oil. Pet parents need a comprehensive plan that includes training to help your pup gain some confidence and feel comfortable in the world. A great online resource is: Fearfreehappyhome.com. But at the end of the day, always consult your vet with these concerns and questions.
Q: Is it, or is it not, safe to play with laser pointers with dogs?
Laser lights seem innocent enough, right? As long as you don’t shine the light directly in the dog’s eyes it shouldn’t be a big deal, right? Well, this is not necessarily the case. Besides the possibility of a cruciate ligament or other soft tissue injury from sharp turns on questionable surfaces, laser chase may not be a good choice for your dog’s mental health. Chasing the laser light can activate their prey drive, so they are looking to chase and then catch the light, but they are never able to catch their prey. As you can quickly see, this can be really frustrating for dogs. For dogs that are very driven, this can lead to obsessive compulsive behaviors such as light and shadow chasing, or staring at the last place they saw the light. Therefore, it is best to play a game such as fetch where they can catch and retrieve, or you can hide food or treats inside of a box that they can work at getting out.
Q: What is the best diet and wellness regimen to help dogs lose weight and exercise, especially senior dogs with arthritis?
For a senior dog that needs weight loss and has arthritis, the Hills metabolic and mobility diet is a great option. It is a prescription diet and comes in dry and canned food. They also make treats or the pet parent can opt for veggies or lean chicken in small bites. Ask your veterinarian about a good glucosamine chondroitin supplement for arthritis. It is worth looking into adding essential fatty acids as well to your dog’s diet. Again, consult your veterinarian for recommendations. Keep in mind that these can add calories to your dog’s diet so you need to be mindful when adding new supplements or treats to your dog’s diet and adjust feeding accordingly. Your vet is your best resource for more information.
Q: Can I give my dog extra fish oil?
It is important to keep in mind that oils add calories to your dog’s diet. On the whole, fish oil is good for the skin, heart, etc. If your dog is taking NSAIDs (Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs), it is important to discuss the introduction of fish oils into your dog’s diet. Overall, yes, fish oil can be a benefit but be sure to discuss with your vet!
Q: Should I be worried if my dog was diagnosed with a heart murmur?
If your dog was diagnosed with a heart murmur it was very likely that your veterinarian heard a “whooshing” sound while listening to your dog’s heart. It is not always a reason for concern, but it certainly can be.
The whooshing sound can be a leaky heart valve, defects of the heart, weak heart muscles, heart worm disease, tumors, infections, or so on. Although not considered normal, not all murmurs are a cause for concern. A large majority of heart murmur in dogs are leaky mitral valves and can be monitored for several years before they require attention. However, these types of murmurs in certain breeds can quickly lead to the dog developing heart failure.
If your dog is diagnosed with a murmur it is always good to have the condition “worked up” by your veterinarian. This would include blood work with heart worm test, chest X-rays and cardiac ultrasound. If your dog has a heart murmur and you see coughing, congestion, change in breath sounds or rapid breathing, exercise intolerance, weakness or “fainting,” gray or blue gums, abdominal distention, or lethargy, you should most certainly seek medical attention.
Q: Is the slow kill method of heartworm treatment effective?
Heartworm disease is best prevented than treated. It is much easier to use a heartworm preventative, such as low dose Ivermectin that has been used extremely safely for decades (even in the “Ivermectin sensitive” breeds).
Heartworm disease can be deadly at worst and cause long-term damage to the heart and pulmonary vasculature even when treated. Consult whenever possible the AHS (American Heartworm Society) guideline and review their protocol on including Adulticide (Melarsomine). If it is not possible to follow that protocol, the slow kill is better than doing nothing, but this is not recommended as the first line of therapy. The slow kill method will cause a lot of further and continued damage to the dog’s heart and vessels.
- The slow kill treatment is less effective than the adulticide treatment recommended by the AHS and may not eliminate all the worms—even after 18 months or more of treatment.
- During the lengthy waiting period, the worms in the dog’s body will continue to damage the heart, lungs, and pulmonary vasculature.
- Strict exercise restriction is needed for the entire time that the animal harbors worms.
- Risk for selection of resistant heartworm populations is increased.
Be sure to tune in to our future Facebook Live Expert Q&As, and submit your questions ahead of time here.
What’s a Heart Murmur and Can CBD Help?
When you first hear the words, ‘your dog has a heart murmur,’ your heart may drop to your stomach, even though you may not be completely sure of what it is. But, it just sounds bad, right? We don’t want anything to be wrong with our loving dogs.
That’s exactly why it’s so important to learn about what a heart murmur is and what you can do to help. And, that’s why you’re here. You’re taking the steps necessary to help your dog live the best life possible.
Table of Contents
What is a Heart Murmur?
In order to fully understand what we are talking about here, we need to explain what a heart murmur is exactly. It’s complicated in some aspects, but we’ll make sure we do our best to explain what it is and what you can do.
Basically, your dog’s heart is pumping blood faster than it should be. The excess pumping makes your dog’s heart work harder and results in more blood flow than there should be.
When your veterinarian listens to your dog’s chest, he can tell there is a murmur by the “whooshing” sound coming from the stethoscope. A good veterinarian can often tell the difference between a normal heartbeat and one that has a murmur.
There are three different types of heart murmurs in our dogs; systolic, diastolic, and continuous. You’ve probably heard systolic and diastolic before when you’re talking about blood pressure. But, it can be a bit confusing.
The way a murmur is classified here is based on the timing of the murmur. Systolic murmurs happen when the heart contracts whereas diastolic murmurs happen between beats when the heart begins to relax. Continuous murmurs are found in both systolic and diastolic cycles.
The Grades of the Murmur: One to Six
We were debating on whether or not to go on with the different grades of murmur, but it’s important for our case here. And, to help educate you on which stage your dog is in. Heart murmurs are ‘graded’ on a scale of one to six ; one being least serious and six being the most serious.
Grade I murmurs are barely detectable with a stethoscope. That’s why we said earlier a good vet can often hear the murmur, but not always because it’s not always easily detectable in the early stages.
Grade II murmurs are heard softly with a stethoscope, but they are still not completely clear.
Once a murmur falls to grade III, they become a little louder and a bit more detectable via a stethoscope. Most murmurs that cause concern are grade III or higher.
Grade IV murmurs are loud and can be easily detected and heard regardless of what side of the chest is examined.
Grade V murmurs are loud enough to identify a murmur without question confidently. Once a dog’s heart murmur reaches grade V, the murmur can be felt by pressing a hand against the dog’s chest.
The most severe heart murmurs are grade VI. They are similar in loudness to a grade V murmur, and can also be felt through the chest wall, but they are the most severe grade of murmur.
What Could Have Caused the Heart Murmur?
There are many answers to this one heartbreaking question. There are different types of heart conditions and defects that could lead to a murmur. Generally, they can be broken down into a few main causes . Your dog could have abnormal valves causing a disturbance in the heart, there could be some type of obstruction or dilated blood vessel, or there could be abnormal blood flow.
Helping Your Dog with Her Heart Murmur
We could dive a bit deeper into individual causes, but the purpose of this article isn’t to give you a lesson on the heart, but rather to help your dog who has been diagnosed with the murmur. We’re happy to point you in the right direction if you want to learn more, but for now, let’s figure out what you can do as your dog’s caretaker.
Since murmurs can be caused by a number of underlying factors, the treatment varies. One of the most common reasons for a heart murmur that’s severe could potentially be congestive heart failure. Don’t panic, because this may not be the case, and your murmur may not be as severe as you may think it is.
But, CBD can help here too by reducing the levels of anxiety your dog feels. Reducing anxiety reduces the stress on your dog’s heart, therefore, preventing her blood pressure from rising. We want to make sure she stays as calm as possible; and, as happy as possible.
As usual, we do have a success story for you here and we are happy to share it with you!
Maxwell: Living Life to the Fullest
Maxwell is a 13-year-old Chihuahua mix who was diagnosed with Congestive Heart Failure (CHF). Maxwell was also diagnosed with severe joint pain due to old age. Maxwell began using CBD Dog Health products in 2018.
His recommended dosage is 1 mL of EASE Full Spectrum Hemp Extract once per day.
We checked back in with Maxwell’s owners for a status update. With the help of CBD Dog Health’s CBD oil for dogs, Maxwell’s loving pet parents noticed a huge change in his level of functioning and he’s now able to walk and run. He is able to RUN with congestive heart failure. If that’s not amazing, I don’t know what is!
He’s now living out his final days, extra days he may not have had with his family, happy and feeling good. He continues to take EASE: CBD Oil for Dogs on a daily basis.