Matters of the Heart

20 Nov 2018

A regular condition that affects our pets is one relating to the heart.  Heart murmurs can be present for many reasons and understanding how it may or may not affect your pet will depend on the type of murmur, its severity and any condition it might be linkHeartsed to.

In kittens and puppies, for example, an “innocent” heart murmur may be heard at their first health check but is usually no longer present when they get to around 6 months old.

Murmurs are graded according to certain criteria;  Grade 1 being the most mild and Grade 6 the most severe.  However, the grade of murmur may not necessarily relate to the severity of any underlying heart problem.  Other factors are considered such as where in the heart the murmur is heard and  any other clinical signs that might suggest an underlying problem.

In cats, a murmur can be a sign of high blood pressure (hypertension) and in dogs is can be associated with illness such as anaemia.

Symptoms to watch for in cats include:

  • lethargy
  • abnormal breathing, pattern or effort
  • pale gums.

Symptoms to watch for in dogs include:

  • coughing
  • difficult or rapid breathing
  • noisy breathing
  • exercise intolerance
  • fainting episodes


Further investigations may also be needed such as x-rays or a cardiac ultrasound (echogardiography).  If you have any concerns that your pet might be displaying any symptoms of a murmur, contact us for further advice.