I’ve Heard Of The Heart Murmur, But What Is It?
Unfortunately the Bulldog is known to be susceptible to a wide array of health problems including Heart Murmurs mostly due to improper breeding practices and irresponsible breeders. These health problems, however, in most cases can be completely avoided when purchasing your pup from a breeder who cares for the well being of his Bulldogs and is devoted to improving the breed.
A heart murmur can be detected by a veterinarian with a stethoscope when your dog has developed an abnormal sound in his heart. Usually your bulldog’s heart produces a solid and clear beat, but when a heart murmur is present, a “whooshing” or liquidy sound can be heard. This “wooshing” sound represents a rough or abnormal blood flow in the heart or it’s ventricles. For some dogs, a heart murmur may not affect their way of life very much, while still with others, it could mean serious complications or even death. There are different grades of murmurs that can be assigned by a Vet. If diagnosed, your Vet may recommend chest x-rays or even refer you to a veterinary Cardiologist to receive more in depth imaging of the heart.
Ok, So What Causes A Heart Murmur For An English Bulldog?
- Genetics can be an obvious cause for a murmur especially when it’s found in a puppy. Usually this is something that will be discovered during the first couple of health checks for a puppy, but it is possible that the defect won’t be discovered until later in the puppy’s life. Of course, the term “genetic defect” refers to the defective genes that were passed on by the puppy’s parents. Often times this can be a soft heart murmur which disappears by the time the puppy reaches the age of about 4-6 months and is harmless.
- Degenerative Valve Disease is known to be the most common cause of heart murmurs for older k-9s. This disease manifests itself when the valves on the left and right sides of the heart begin to thicken disallowing them to close as they should. When the valves cannot close properly they begin leaking. This heart disease can be one of the most deadly forms for a dog.
- It is said that heart murmurs can also be caused by anemia, parasites and even the dog’s diet, but some of these causes are not proven.
Only a veterinarian can diagnose a heart murmur, but there are some things you can watch for.
- Non-stop weazing or coughing
- Unusual lack of desire for play or exercise
- Severe inability to carry own weight
- Long periods of panting or trouble breathing
- No appetite
- An irregular sound coming from the heart
What Can We Do?
If you feel that your dog may have a problem with his heart and have noticed some of the symptoms noted above you may want to see your vet right away. Be a good steward of your Bulldog! Don’t skip on your dog’s scheduled health check-ups with your veterinarian especially if he’s already been diagnosed with a heart murmur. Keep up to date your bully’s vaccinations and keep him on a proper diet suited to his age, lifestyle and most importantly, his particular breed.
Of course as explained above, there isn’t always a full proof plan to avoid a health issue like this, but you can do your best to purchase your dog from a responsible breeder. Before you purchase a puppy make sure he was physically examined by a licensed veterinarian and given a clean bill of health. Take a look a both of this puppy’s parents if possible. The parents should appear vibrant and healthy. As stated in the begining of the post; heart murmurs and other health problems can be avoided.
*Information for this article on the canine Heart Murmur was derived in part from the OKState University Center For Veterinary Health Sciences.
More Health Topics Soon! These Pages Don’t Just Grow On Trees Ya Know! 🙂