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Grade 5 heart murmur in kitten.

Species: Cat
Breed: Devon Rex
Age: Less than 3 mon
I raise and show Devon Rexes. I have a litter of 6 kittens that were 8 weeks old last Thurday (August 26th). One of these kittens, Joel, has what my vet is calling a grade 5 heart murmur or possibly a valve problem. You can hear his blood 'whooshing' in his chest when you hold his chest to your ear. He sees the cardiologist this coming Tuesday.

In the meantime, I generally give kittens their first 3 way vaccination at the age of 8 weeks.

1) Is it safe for Joel to be vaccinated?

2) and if I shouldn't vaccinate him, is it safe to vaccinate the other 5?
They are all living together in my large kitten room.

3) OR should they all wait until the cardiologist has seen Joel?

TIA!

Mary Ann


Online vet, Dr. Marie

Dr. Marie replied:

Hi and thanks so much for your question.

A grade 5 heart murmur is usually a cause for concern and it is definitely a good idea to have the cardiologist assess Joel. They will likely do an ultrasound on the heart to determine how serious the problem is.

Some kittens can be born with what is called either an innocent murmur or a juvenile murmur which will go away within a few months. However, these murmurs are usually a grade 1 or 2. We usually grade the murmurs on a scale of 1-6, so a 5 is unlikely to be an innocent murmur.

With that being said, it is quite unlikely that there will be any problem with vaccinating Joel. The only reason I would say to wait on vaccines is if Joel is visibly sick - not eating, difficulty breathing, poor weight gain. If this is the case then it is possible that he is in heart failure and we would not want to stress his body out by giving vaccines. But if he seems bright and alert and is eating well, then he should be fine to vaccinate.

There's definitely no reason to wait to vaccinate the other 5 kittens.

I really hope the little guy is ok!

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.

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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.