Heart murmur – mitral valve disease

By October 27, 2013Blogs

This is a patient we examined this month for a new heart murmur.  It highlights the most common cause for heart murmurs in pets as they age.  By performing an echocardiogram (ultrasound of the heart), we can see the inside of the heart to diagnose the cause of the murmur and determine what actions should be taken to minimize the symptoms of heart disease.

Here you can see the 2 leaflets of the mitral valve.  The lower valve is normal and the upper valve is very thickened.

Here you can see the 2 leaflets of the mitral valve. The lower valve is normal and the upper valve is very thickened.

The color flow doppler shows direction of bloodflow.  The red color shows blood moving efficiently from the right atrium to the right ventricle.

The color flow doppler shows direction of bloodflow. The red color shows blood moving efficiently from the right atrium to the right ventricle.

The color flow doppler shows the blood flow from the left atrium to the left ventricle through the abnormally thickened mitral valve.  The yellow color shows swirling of blood backward into the atrium, which is what creates the sound we call a "murmur".

The color flow doppler shows the blood flow from the left atrium to the left ventricle through the abnormally thickened mitral valve. The yellow color shows swirling of blood backward into the atrium, which is what creates the sound we call a “murmur”.

The left atrium has dilated due to blood flow moving in the reverse direction.

The left atrium has dilated due to blood flow moving in the reverse direction (murmur). This dog should start heart medication to slow advancement of heart disease.

This dog will start heart medications as well as supplements and herbs to strengthen the heart and protect her from worsening of heart disease.  Also, the thickened mitral valve with attract any abnormal bacteria in the bloodstream (usually from dental disease), so we will need to take extra precautions to keep her teeth clean.

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