Heart murmur in new puppy.

(44 Posts)
hellymelly Sun 12-Jan-14 11:28:23

We picked up our new puppy from the breeder yesterday. He had just had the puppies vet checked and unfortunately our puppy had a low grade heart murmer. The vet had written a letter explaining and saying that otherwise she is in good health, and that most murmurs disappear by about 16 weeks. (She is almost 9 weeks now). The breeder reduced the price of the puppy, but obviously my main worry is what are the issues if the murmur doesn't resolve? We will get her checked by our own vet this week, but I thought it might be helpful to also have others' experience of this, as I have never dealt with it before. [Message edited by MNHQ to remove identifying info]

Lonecatwithkitten Sun 12-Jan-14 13:14:05

If you came to see me I would advise seeing a veterinary cardiologist to get an experts opinion about whether this is an innocent murmur or not. When I vet check litters for breeders if we ever find a murmur we have it checked by the cardiologist prior to sale. As a GP vet I would not be prepared to say which murmurs are innocent and will disappear and which will not.

hellymelly Sun 12-Jan-14 15:27:08

Thanks Lonecat, so I should ask the vet to refer us to a cardiologist? We live in the back of beyond, annoyingly so it may be tricky. Our vet is great but the practice is fairly low tec compared to our old London vet. The puppy has a month's insurance from the breeder, but I imagine this won't be covered as it had already shown up?

Lonecatwithkitten Sun 12-Jan-14 17:21:10

I would so you know exactly what the problem is and whether you should keep the puppy. Even if you have to pay it could save you thousands in the long run.

hellymelly Sun 12-Jan-14 18:06:11

I don't think sending her back is an option, as we have young daughters and they would be very upset indeed. We are all rather attached to her now. It was a bit of a surprise and now I think maybe we should have left and found out more rather than bringing her home, but we were there with my dds who have been longing to bring her home, and it is a really long way from where we live. I read the vets letter and chatted to the breeder, and felt reassured, but now I am worried. We've had a lot of death in the family over the last 18 months and it affected my smaller daughter (now 6) really badly, so I am possibly even more worried than I might be that there could be something that would be risky for the puppy. And of course she is a lovely little thing. She seems fine, but she is smaller than her sibling, that may be meaningless though. I am going to call our vet in the morning and chat to her about it.

Floralnomad Sun 12-Jan-14 18:41:35

I think its very unfair of the breeder to put you in that position ,they should have phoned you before you went to collect especially if they know you have small children ,that way it would have been much easier to walk away . I would imagine that it would be excluded on insurance going forward .

pist Sun 12-Jan-14 18:50:12

I second what Floralnomad said.
A responsible breeder would not have put you or the puppy in this situation. I would also be worried about what else the breeder might not have been totally up front about (Sorry I don't want to panic you - acquiring a puppy can be VERY emotional business and always carries some risk)

hellymelly Sun 12-Jan-14 19:25:57

Well I agree I would rather have known in advance. I'm not sure why they didn't let us know before. We have met the breeder several times and been waiting a really long time for a pup. He seems kind and responsible, he is on the kennel club assured breeder list. So I don't know what to think now. He was recommended to me by another dog owner too. We had driven for hours to pick the puppy up, we had also met the puppies before, so it was all rather a shock and I didn't know what to do, especially as my dds were in love with the puppy and delighted to finally be taking her home. Hopefully it will resolve as the vet said it is likely to do, but I am getting really worried as to the implications if not.

Arudonto Sun 12-Jan-14 20:01:03

being smaller than a sibling could be relevant im afraid. her heart issue may already be causing her not to thrive.

I would be furious with a breeder who handed over a pup to a family with small children and then mentioned the potential for that puppy they fell is love woth having a life limiting or threatening condition.cruel thing to do.They should have been the ones finding out what was wrong before passing the pup on.

I would bring her to a specialist for a heart scan to at least rule out the serious congenital heart issues as several of those can be life limiting.Many murmurs in pups do disappear over time...but being smaller than the other pups plus a murmur would be a red flag for me though.

pist Sun 12-Jan-14 20:05:51

I'm keeping my fingers crossed for you helly, once the kids are involved stakes are raised. We lost an 18mths old pup a few years back and needless to say the kids (and us!) were devastated - we still eventually got another dog -who is now a tiny bit wrapped in cottonwool - However the joy of a dog/new family member far outweighs the worry of what might/will happen one day.

Dogonabeanbag Sun 12-Jan-14 20:09:24

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Lonecatwithkitten Sun 12-Jan-14 20:24:41

Oh smaller than sibling is a big red flag. Some of these murmurs can be fixed with a stent, but do need fixing early. Only an echocardiogram, ultrasound of the heart is going to tell you the structural problem causing the murmur.

Redbushytea Sun 12-Jan-14 20:28:22

Our terrier's got a heart murmur, but she is 5 going on 6 years old and very lively. It was picked up by a vet years ago, but nothing bad has come of it.

hellymelly Sun 12-Jan-14 21:41:02

The breeder said that the sibling was big, and that our puppy wasn't the smallest of the litter, but all the others had gone, so I have no way of knowing if that is the truth. (I mentioned to him that she was smaller than her sister and asked if the murmur could be the cause). I am really worried now. I don't know what to say to the breeder and I am really anxious that she might be small and the murmur a big issue. She seems to have plenty of energy, she bounces about and then sleeps, normal I would imagine for her age? (I have never had a pup this young, my two previous dogs were 12 and 14 weeks when I got them). Really wish we had come home puppyless and then worked out what to do, but I was swayed by small children and also by the vets statement that this is quite common and usually resolves. Lonecat, I am assuming you are a vet? Are cardio experts easy to find? We are in rural West Wales.

mrslaughan Sun 12-Jan-14 22:05:29

I would be getting another Vets opinion.......we adopted a cat (well he was dumped on us), turns out had a heart murmur, and after moving countries with him (because he was meant to live for years and years) he went into heart failure, what followed was a year of very very expensive vet bills. He was never going to live very long (after going into heart failure), we knew that.

I tell you this because you have paid good money for a pup that may not be able to be insured and could end up costing a lot of money.

I think it was really off of the breeder not to call you as soon as she knew.....as nice as she seems, she has played you.

Lonecatwithkitten Sun 12-Jan-14 22:45:56

I am a vet yes. Off the top of my head Mark Patterson at Vale Referrals in Dursley is probably your closest option.

hellymelly Sun 12-Jan-14 22:53:58

Lonecat thank you, that is really annoying as it is a good three hours minimum drive from us, but incredibly close to the breeder. I feel really foolish now for bringing the puppy home. I was hoping there might be a vet rather closer than that as 6 hours or more there and back in a car for such a small pup is not a great thought. DH is half dead today after doing it yesterday.

hellymelly Sun 12-Jan-14 22:59:13

Have just checked and bizarrely that is the practice who checked her. Although not the same vet. I think I will call them first thing and see what they say, as I am surprised they didn't suggest the more detailed check. The vet saw the whole litter together so he would have had more of an idea of any size abnormality, although it was ten days ago he saw them.

Lonecatwithkitten Sun 12-Jan-14 23:10:46

Ah, if the Pup has been checked by one of the cardiologists at Vale then you can relax. It would have been nicer if breeder had reassured you by saying cardiologist checked.

hellymelly Sun 12-Jan-14 23:39:44

I am not sure that is was a cardiologist, it was Vale vets though. The letter states that " A low grade left-sided heart murmur was present with the typical characteristics of an innocent puppy murmur. This means there is no apparent heart disease to explain the murmur. Most murmurs disappear by the age of 16 weeks. However, a congenital abnormality cannot be completely excluded at this time. The puppy was in excellent physical condition". I will call them tomorrow to talk it through. Good to know they are experienced in this area at the practice. That has made me feel a bit calmer.

hellymelly Mon 13-Jan-14 00:03:26

I think, to be fair, that the breeder was fairly satisfied that it was a minor issue that would probably resolve. He had talked it over with the vet, whereas I hadn't. Although I would have rather known in advance and had the chance to do research, I did take a lot of care to find a decent breeder and I felt that he was trustworthy. The pups are kept inside the family home and they were clearly loved and very well cared for. They are fussy about who gets a puppy and wanted to know as much about us as we did about them and the dogs, so I don't think he was trying to fob me off with an ailing puppy. I do however want to make sure that I now do everything possible to ensure a long healthy life for the pup and there is the worry with a heart issue that it could have an impact on her lifespan or health generally. I will call the vet who examined her and also take her to my own vet tomorrow, as planned anyway, and then perhaps we will have a bit more info.

pist Mon 13-Jan-14 06:10:38

Sounds a bit better now, helly. Do call the practice. I still think it is irresponsible of the breeder not to give you the chance to do this BEFORE taking the puppy home.
You need as much info as possible. You may find that any insurance you get, won't cover heart problems ( unless you took out insurance before the condition was known)

hellymelly Mon 13-Jan-14 12:52:12

Have called the practice and we are waiting for the vet to call us back. The insurance issue is a concern I agree. I am most bothered by the fact she is small tbh, as a friend had a "runty" puppy and she had health problems all her life, initially the only issue was her size (the seller had lied about her age to my friend to disguise the fact she was so small!) but later she developed a serious heath problem that made her blind.
The littermate of our puppy was quite a bit bigger. sad. So that is preying on my mind. I really wanted this puppy to be the dog my dds have until they are adults, and although random things can happen, illnesses and accidents that one can't predict, it makes sense to start off with a dog in good health. She is a lovely wee thing too, really friendly and sparky.

What breed is your puppy as some breeds are more prone to heart murmurs.

hellymelly Mon 13-Jan-14 22:48:17

She isn't a breed prone to this, no.
DH spoke to the vet who puppy checked her, he thought it would be sensible to have further checks, and we are waiting to find out if there is a clinic closer to us. He said her smallish size might be completely irrelevent or it could be a factor, depending on what was going on, either way we need more investigation as Lonecat said. We will try and get this done as soon as there is a slot available. She has plenty of energy, more bouncy today, I think the change of home and long journey had made her slightly less boisterous yesterday, but today she seems on great form. She refused one of her meals yesterday too, but today has eaten well and looks good.
Hopefully it is an innocent murmur, I am trying not to worry too much until we know just what the problem is, but I don't think I will relax until she has been properly looked at.

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