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Bulldog with level 5 heart murmur

Discussion in 'Dog Health and Nutrition' started by Lalalauren, Jul 27, 2020.


  1. Lalalauren

    Lalalauren PetForums Newbie

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    I’ve just recently rehomed a bulldog and taken him to get a check up at the vets. The previous owners said that they had done the same (they didn’t have him for long) and he was healthy. For the most part, he is very healthy - breathing, skin, etc...but he has been diagnosed with a level 5 heart murmur, so potentially the previous owners might have lied a bit and that’s why they were getting rid of him. I don’t know, I tend to give people the benefit of the doubt too much.

    My question is, is it possible that stress has caused a minor heart murmur to get worse and more obvious? Maybe the previous owners knew he had a minor heart murmur but nothing to worry about. And then him changing homes and waiting for the vet, and then being taken away from my for a check up (thanks, new Covid rules), have all contributed to him being more stressed than usual?

    He is also peeing in his bed. Not in the house, but just in his bed. He’s done this a few times now. At first we thought he might have been claiming it, but maybe this is also a sign of stress?

    I’m a bit of an optimist so I’m hoping maybe all of the above might be true, and we just need to keep an eye on him, get his weight down (bit overweight too....) and exercise him slowly and he’ll have no further issues.

    Can anyone shed some light or have any more info?
     
  2. Rafa

    Rafa PetForums VIP

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    How old is he?
     
  3. Blitz

    Blitz PetForums VIP

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    It sounds expensive and probably a short life. Do you actually want to keep the dog. After all you took him the vet to get a check over and it came up with a serious condition. I was going to take on a little Bichon a few years ago, took it the vet before committing and it had a bad heart murmur so I did not have it. Dogs can get enough problems and cost a lot of money without taking one on that is guaranteed to cost a lot.
     
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  4. Lalalauren

    Lalalauren PetForums Newbie

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    He’s just over a year and a half old, so not too old.

    We’re committed to him now. I think we’ve learnt that it was a mistake but he’s been through 4 homes in his short life and we can’t do that to him.
     
  5. Dog-dogs

    Dog-dogs PetForums Member

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    I know Bulldogs command premium prices, so did you have to pay for him and were you told a reason to why he’d been through so many owners? Could it be that people found out his heart condition and wanted to offload, but not lose any money from their original outlay in buying him? Yes I appreciate I’m being cynical.

    When you went to your vet, did they suggest/comment on what could/should be done and the likely cost this would entail - and are you able to afford this?
     
  6. DogMom27

    DogMom27 PetForums Newbie

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    The level of the heart murmur doesn't necessarily indicate how severe the condition is, in order to find out what is causing the murmur you would need to have some scans done by a specialist. Unfortunately I know about this as our now 6 month old French bulldog was diagnosed when we took her for her first jabs (due to lockdown breeder supposedly wasn't able to) as having a level 4/5 heart murmur by the vet who asked me how attached I was to the dog and suggested I return her to the breeder because as others have stated above, this scenario could lead to a lot of heart break and expense. I had really hoped that the heart murmur wasn't as bad as they had diagnosed, after all my puppy was terrified when we went to the vet and also had to go in on her own, but the vet said this isn't the case-they don't really get better on their own or less severe unless they are young puppies and have a level 1 or 2 which is commonly outgrown as their hearts develop. a level 5 is very serious and would indicate there is an underlying heart condition in this dog.

    We were referred to a specialist veterinary cardiologist who I believe is one of the best in the country (at North Downs) and they determined our dog had severe pulmonary stenosis which is very common in bulldog breeds and could very well be what this dog is experiencing.

    There is a fix if this is what your dog has, it is a balloon valvuloplasty surgery which can give the dog a normal lease on life. Unfortunately it is VERY costly and based on what sounds to be a pre-existing condition (as in, known to vets before the dog came to you and was potentially insured by you), I would suspect any heart condition will not be covered by insurance even if you have a policy in place. We weren't covered as we were on the 12th day of our policy and anything found before 14 days is deemed pre-existing. The scans were £300 which were part of a puppy clinic and the surgery was £4500. We have a follow up scan next month which will be about £450 and have been given beta-blockers which help regulate the heart rate which have cost about £50 so far. So in total, we have paid over £5k for this condition and who knows how much more over the duration of our dog's life.

    Had our dog not had the surgery, based on the severity of her condition, the vet suspected she would have only lived a few months and would/could have literally fallen down dead at any time but especially in warm weather or after lots of excitement/exercise. It is heart breaking for the dog, for the owners, everyone involved but at this stage I would definitely recommend at the very least having the scans done to find out what the cause of the heart murmur is-even if you can't afford the surgery, you can get some medicines to prolong their life and would at least then be aware as to how to help the dog live the best and longest life possible. This particular condition is one in which dogs seem perfectly healthy for awhile as their heart grows to overcome it. Good luck.
     
  7. DogMom27

    DogMom27 PetForums Newbie

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    Sorry, I should add that due to the level of severity of the heart murmur, if your dog required any anesthetic (broken bones, spay or neuter, surgery, etc.), most vets are unlikely to do this due to the risk of your dog dying and you would also not be able to transport the dog on an airplane as the chance of them dying would be highly likely. Sorry to be so doom and gloom, it was just something that was stressed to me by the vet and something I hadn't considered. A lot of heart conditions are hereditary so it is important dogs with them are spayed/neutered to ensure they don't pass them on but if they can't be or haven't been, even more important to be hyper-aware so there are no accidental pregnancies.
     
  8. lullabydream

    lullabydream PetForums VIP

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    @DogMom27 is absolutely right.. This isn't a 'minor health problem' it's a serious health problem. It's only start of a diagnosis leading most probably to a life limiting illness.

    I wish you luck
     
  9. Pricivius

    Pricivius PetForums Junior

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    If he’s KC registered, or if you know his breeder, be sure to get in touch and let them know. They need to be aware so they can reconsider their breeding programme in case this is hereditary.
     
  10. Silverdoof

    Silverdoof PetForums Member

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    Just like to add you need to get a urine sample to your vet sounds like your boy has a little Urine infection. What happens is when sleeping In a deep sleep the dog relaxes and the irritant bladder leaks. Antibiotics will clear it. Stress can cause cystitis but more likely just a little infection

    so sorry about the heart murmur in your pup.
     
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  11. Lalalauren

    Lalalauren PetForums Newbie

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    We weren’t told of the heart murmur when we got him. The reason for his multiple homes was apparently that everyone kept getting pregnant and had to give the dog up. We’re pretty certain now that the couple we got him from lied to us to offload him when they found out about his condition.

    Luckily we have no plans to get pregnant and can afford to give this dog the best life we can.

    He’s already been neutered so no fear of him passing it on.

    With regards to him not being able to undergo anaesthetic, this is something I assumed with his heart problem, but they want to put him under to do the echocardiogram. Or is that just a mild sedation? Are there levels of sedation....? Anyway, we will probably get the scan to find out more as this is what has been advised at the moment.

    Thanks to everyone who is responded! I’ve done a lot of research online since the diagnoses but it’s good to hear from personal experience as well
     
  12. Dog-dogs

    Dog-dogs PetForums Member

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    Thank you for updating us @Lalalauren and am glad he has found someone who is willing to look after him in the long term. Best of luck.
     
  13. Nonnie

    Nonnie PetForums VIP

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    Shouldnt have to - not even sedation. Its non-invasive and really quick.

    You *can* operate on a dog with a severe heart murmur, you just have to accept the increased risk of death.
     
    The Wild Bunch likes this.
  14. Silverdoof

    Silverdoof PetForums Member

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    Our Boxer with Cardiomyopathy, he never had to go under anaesthesia for a Echo. He had quite a few carried out
     
  15. The Wild Bunch

    The Wild Bunch Owner of dogs and referee of children

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    I had a spaniel with mitral valve disease, he had ECGs regularly and never had to be put under, he just laid on the table with a nurse stroking his belly while it was done.

    Our spaniel started with his heart at 18 months and was on meds for 6 and a half years, you will find that they usually give a water tablet as one of the drugs to remove excess water from the heart, as such, this makes them need to pee more.
    I am pleased you're having an echo as then you know exactly what you are dealing with and what the prognosis is. In the meantime, losing some weight and keeping him cool in hot weather will help and perhaps just some gentle exercise.

    Our lad's MVD was hereditary and is rife in the breed. His heart was very noisy to the point that you could hear him 'whooshing' without a stethoscope.
     
  16. Lalalauren

    Lalalauren PetForums Newbie

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    I’ll double check the need to go under for the echocardiogram...I think they said it was because of his size? He’s 27kg, so a bit overweight and chunky...dont know if that is likely to make a difference or not.

    Got another check up this morning with a view to booking the echocardiogram. Woke up to the sound of him choking/struggling to breathe. Couldn’t see that he’d chewed or swallowed anything. He had a little accident inside, but then regained control of his breathing after a few strokes and went outside where he finished doing toilet things. But wobbly on his feet but otherwise seemed alright. This was about an hour ago and now he seems back to normal and has eaten, but getting it checked out in case it’s an additional issue
     
  17. Lalalauren

    Lalalauren PetForums Newbie

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    Issues this morning were heat related. Bought an ice jacket for the upcoming weekend!

    They’re definitely saying sedation for the echocardiogram. I’m just going to have to trust that they know what they’re doing.
     
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