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Honored Contributor
Posts: 16,837
Registered: ‎03-10-2010

Re: My dog has a heart murmur--now what?

[ Edited ]

@Gracies Mom  I posted earlier about having Cavaliers with heart murmurs.  I really think your vet should be able to prescribe meds without having an echo.  If you can do an x-ray that should be helpful.  Maybe you should go to the Cardiologist and let her prescribe the meds and do the x-ray.  I've had echos done and also turned them down.  Then you can check around for the best prices on the meds.  I always order from KV Vet or Drs. Foster and Smith.  I order my heartworm meds from them, too.

 


The Bluebird Carries The Sky On His Back"
-Henry David Thoreau





Esteemed Contributor
Posts: 6,433
Registered: ‎03-09-2010

Re: My dog has a heart murmur--now what?

[ Edited ]

Some additional info for you to aid in your decision-making from our experiences that may or may not help you with yours:

 

An x-ray at bare minimum will tell your vet some good information -- for example, if there's pleural and pericardial effusion (fluid in and around heart sac and lungs).  Generally only then should lasix, a diuretic, be given, because it's hard on the pet's kidneys over time. Giving lasix to a dog with a heart murmur without knowing it's got a fluid problem is not good. So an x-ray is definitely worth it, if only on that account.  An x-ray also shows whether there is enlargement of heart muscle and to some extent progression of the heart disease in question.

 

What it can't tell you is whether the problem is mechanical (valve- murmur) or electrical (abnormal heart rhythm).  There are some tests that can separate out the latter, and they are less expensive ... blood tests and an EKG.

 

The ultrasound, though, gets the job done and you're on your way.  No playing around with just throwing medications at the dog trying to figure out why/why not they may be working.  While initially hard on the budget, it saves money by taking out guesswork.

 

Just one last thing -- a tip on making medications more affordable:  lasix (furosemide) and enalapril and most meds to treat heart disease in dogs and cats are the same ones used to treat humans.  Target and WalMart can and will, in most cases, fill these prescriptions for your dog.  I think lasix is even on WalMart's $4/month formulary list....cheaper than pretty much any other resource out there. 

 

Best of luck with your beloved dog.  I've been down your road and it's not easy, with all of the competing issues. Looking back, I'm glad we bit the bullet on the ultrasound; it was a stretch for us, too, but it was worth its weight in gold and more.

 

Valued Contributor
Posts: 772
Registered: ‎03-09-2010

Re: My dog has a heart murmur--now what?

I'm sorry to hear this.  First and foremost make whatever decision YOU (and your husband) feel MOST comfortable with AND can afford.  Over the years with various pets, I've had to say no to certain procedures, tests and surgeries because it just was not financially viable for me at that particular time.  As an example, one kitty I had had the same surgery THREE times (the issue kept coming back). After it came back the 4th time, even my vet said that he would not recommend doing surgery again...plus I couldn't afford a 4th surgery....she was comfortable, monitored by my vet, and lived probably another year or so after the last surgery...

 

My pets are all VERY well loved and have what I feel is a pretty pampered life (for what i can afford them)! lol  If you have a truly understanding vet, they will try to do what's best for you and your pet given your circumstance and financial ability.  I wish you luck!

 

If you feel like trying just the medication as you stated (if I read what you wrote correctly), that is well within your right as the guardian of your pet, and your vet should not refuse to honor your request.

 

Honored Contributor
Posts: 70,557
Registered: ‎03-10-2010

Re: My dog has a heart murmur--now what?

@susan kay   I posted a response to you earlier but it seems to have disappeared into cyberspace. 

 

Have you looked into GoodRX. Com?   They give discounts on pet and people drugs.   I managed to get a $400+ script for my dog for $60, at a Kroger owned grocery chain.   They and Target were the most cooperative when I was calling to get prices and asking if they honored this coupon.   Walmart has good drug prices but won't honor coupons for pets.   I don't think CVS honors coupons period.   Give it a try and good luck. 

New Mexico☀️Land Of Enchantment
Contributor
Posts: 74
Registered: ‎12-06-2015

Re: My dog has a heart murmur--now what?

My miniature poodle has a murmur, too, but since she shows no symptoms, we are on the watch-n-see plan.  Do you live close to a vet school? You might call and ask if they have a program at no or a reduced cost to allow students to perform tests that they are learning how to do, then you would only have to pay for the cardio interpretation of the results, which is significantly cheaper than the test plus interpretation.  You might also call SNAP, which although is a spay neuter reduced cost program, they might be able to refer you to other resources.  Best wishes to you and your beloved pet!  Keep us updated on any resources you locate and how your baby is doing.

Valued Contributor
Posts: 881
Registered: ‎04-25-2011

Re: My dog has a heart murmur--now what?

Again, thank you ALL for your advice and suggestions--everyone has been really helpful and I appreciate it!

 

Gracie's laser vet did hear the murmur--and she didn't think the echo was necessary, but she agreed with the chest x-ray, which is doable at the regular vet's office--will have that done next Friday. That is when I will discuss the echo again--and how it is cost prohibitive for us---I will also ask if Gracie's drug treatment would be the same, no matter what the echo showed (baring a tumor or anything like that, God forbid).

Both vets agreed that Gracie's lungs are clear--no fluid--which is a good sign--so she would not need Lasix--probably just Enalapril, which lessens the workload on the heart--and I know it is a cheap drug--our last dog had a murmur the last year of her life and took this drug--her murmur never worsened and cancer took her from us. But that was 13 years ago--vets did not do echocardiograms on dogs back then--they also did not recommend canine cardiologists for a murmur--decisions were much easier. I knew I could buy the Enalapril from a human pharmacy--I try to buy any drugs Gracie needs at a human pharmacy if they carry them--the prices the vet charges to fill a prescription is outrageous!

No, we do not have a vet school near us, unfortunately.

As of right now, Gracie is resting--we are trying our best not to let her jump around because of her arthritic knee--and no walks for a few more days--she is getting depressed and I don't blame her.

Ugh, I was so down last night that I had to cry it out--sometimes life gets overwhelming (I'm also battling cancer at the same time...but that's for another forum!).

Hope everyone has a lovely weekend----and if anyone has anymore advice or suggestions, I'm listening.....

Esteemed Contributor
Posts: 5,493
Registered: ‎02-02-2015

Re: My dog has a heart murmur--now what?

I see different vets in a large practice.  I had a dog who was diagnosed with a murmur also but the vet didn't offer any other testing or any other info.  The only thing I was told was that it might get worse as the dog ages.  No other vet ever mentioned a murmur.  So, we aren't treating it at all but he has other medical issues much more pressing so perhaps that is why it wasn't really discussed in any detail.  My dog has been just fine other than some other significant things we are treating but nothing heart related at this time.  At least in my case nothing was prescribed but I'll look into it further. 

Esteemed Contributor
Posts: 5,299
Registered: ‎06-06-2011

Re: My dog has a heart murmur--now what?

Not my dog, but my cat was recently diagnosed with a heart murmur. I wasn't all that concerned (I have one also ~ LOL), but I did contact the specialist that my vet recommended. It would be $650 for the consult and tests and then there may or may not be anything to be done. Just a wait and see, would be $650 every year. My boy is 10 (rescued at 6) and seems perfectly healthy and happy. We decided to leave it in God's hands since he does not appear to be suffering in any way.

Women and cats will do as they please, and men and dogs should relax and get used to the idea-Robert A. Heinlein