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Should I get an ultrasound?

Species: Dog
Breed: Border Collie
Age: 5-8 years
Dear Dr. Marie,

My dog has a grade 3-4 heart murmur that she’s had her whole life. The vet suggested that I get an echo done of her heart, which I was planning to do this week. However, I would like to postpone the echo for a month or so because of the cost. The vet was pretty firm in terms of getting it done sooner rather than later but she had an x-ray done of her heart about 3 weeks ago and they said everything looked fine. Is it okay to wait until September (or maybe even October) to have it done?

She turned 7 this summer, and the vet has been referring to her as a “senior dog.” That freaked me out! She is still behaving like a puppy in many ways (high energy, playful, etc). Should I be worrying about her now? The anxiety of losing her is driving me crazy!

Thank you (as always) for your reliable advice and compassion!

Blessings,
Julie




Online vet, Dr. Marie

Dr. Marie replied:

Hi Julie...I remember you asking about Jammy before. This is tough for me to answer without examining Jammy. But, in general, I'm not in a rush to get an ultrasound done on a dog's heart if there aren't any clinical symptoms of heart disease. Clinical symptoms are usually coughing or fainting.

The only thing that I could think of that would suddenly cause heart problems with no prior symptoms would be a condition called dilated cardiomyopathy. Dogs can suddenly die from this. However, the chances of that happening between now and a few months from now are slim to none.

I think you're likely fine to wait!

Just so you know, I'm heading offline now...I'm off to work. If you have more concerns, hit reply and I'll respond later today.

Dr. Marie.



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Disclaimer: Although Dr. Marie is a qualified veterinarian, the information found on this site is not meant to replace the advice of your own veterinarian. AskAVetQuestion.com and Dr. Marie do not accept any responsibility for any loss, damage, injury, death, or disease which may arise from reliance on information contained on this site. Do not use information found on this site for diagnosing or treating your pet. Anything you read here is for information only.

Customer reply:

Thank you! Regading dilated cardiomyopathy, would that show up in an echo?


Online vet, Dr. Marie

Dr. Marie replied:

Yes! In fact, an echo (ultrasound) is the ONLY way we can diagnose DCM.



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Dr. MarieDr. Marie is a veterinarian who practices in a busy animal hospital in Ottawa, Ontario. She created Ask A Vet Question as a resource for good, accurate veterinary advice online. Dr. Marie treats dogs, cats, hamsters, guinea pigs, and rats. She has been a vet since 1999.

Is an online vet visit just as good as a trip to your veterinarian? No! But, many times, asking an online veterinarian a question can help save you money. While Dr. Marie can't officially diagnose your pet or prescribe medications, she can often advise you on whether a vet visit is necessary. You can also ask Dr. Marie for a second opinion on your pet's condition.