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How Long Can a Chihuahua Live With a Heart Murmur?

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Does your Chihuahua been diagnosed with a heart murmur? If so, you may wonder how long can a chihuahua live with a heart murmur. It might be distressing to hear that your senior Chihuahua has a heart problem. It makes you think about the possibility that your dearest companion may not be with you forever.

But how long can a Chihuahua live with a heart murmur? The answer to this question is not as simple as you might think. It all depends on the severity of a heart murmur and how well your Chihuahua responds to treatment. So don’t jump to conclusions and start panicking. Let’s look at all the factors that affect how long a Chihuahua can live with a heart murmur.

What Exactly Is a Heart Murmur?

Heart monitoring in the vet clinic

Similar to how human hearts circulate blood throughout the body, a stethoscope can detect the regular pulse of a dog’s heart. A murmur, which differs from a normal heartbeat, is produced when there is an obstruction in blood flow. This obstruction can occur anywhere in the heart, from the valves to the chambers.

The severity of a murmur is classified on a scale from one to six, with grade one being the most benign. A dog with a grade one murmur will have little to no symptoms and a good prognosis. On the other hand, dogs with severe heart murmurs (grades four to six) often experience symptoms such as exercise intolerance, fainting, and weight loss. These dogs have a poorer prognosis and may not live as long as their healthier counterparts.

Heart murmurs may be detected by using a stethoscope, as mentioned earlier. In order to understand the problem, your veterinarian may recommend additional tests like x-rays. Your vet would listen to your Chihuahua’s heart and lungs with a stethoscope and might check the following:

  • Loudness: The loudness depends on how much turbulence is present.
  • Timing: The timing of the murmur in relation to the heartbeat.
  • Location: This can help determine which valve is affected.
  • Length: This can help determine how long the murmur has been present.

Your vet will also want to know about your Chihuahua’s general health and any symptoms they have been experiencing.

Symptoms of Heart Murmurs in Chihuahuas

Chihuahua lying with a toy as a pillow

The symptoms of heart murmurs in Chihuahuas depend on the severity of the murmur. Dogs with mild murmurs may not show any symptoms at all. However, dogs with severe heart murmur often experience symptoms such as:

☛Racing Pulse or Irregular Heartbeat

It is one of the most common symptoms. You can check your Chihuahua’s pulse by feeling the beat on its inner thighs or behind its elbow. If the pulse is too fast or irregular, it may be a sign of a heart murmur.

☛Persistent, Hacking Cough

A hacking cough is another common symptom of heart murmurs in Chihuahuas. It is often caused by fluid buildup in the lungs (congestive heart failure). This fluid makes it difficult for the lungs to exchange oxygen and carbon dioxide, which leads to a persistent cough.

☛Excessive Panting Even When Resting

Panting is how dogs cool themselves down. However, if your Chihuahua is panting excessively even when it’s not hot or exercising, it may be a sign of heart disease. Because the heart is not pumping efficiently, the dog has to work harder to breathe.

☛Lack of Appetite or Energy

If your Chihuahua doesn’t have an appetite or is always tired, it may be a sign that the heart is not getting enough blood. It can be a result of congestive heart failure or other problems with heart function.

☛Fainting or Collapsing

Fainting and collapsing are often caused by an irregular heart rhythm (arrhythmia). It can be a serious problem, such as arrhythmogenic right ventricular cardiomyopathy (ARVC), a fatal heart condition that mostly affects young to middle-aged dogs.

☛Tongue or Gums Are Bluish in Color

If the tongue or gums are bluish in color, it may indicate oxygen deprivation. It can be caused by various heart problems, such as congestive heart failure or pulmonary hypertension.

☛Abdomen Swelling

Swelling in the abdomen (known as ascites) is often caused by fluid buildup due to congestive heart failure. This can make breathing difficult for the Chihuahua and may cause pain in the abdomen.

☛Severe Water Retention

Water retention is often a symptom of congestive heart failure. It is because the heart is not pumping efficiently, so fluid backs up in the lungs and other tissues.

These are just some symptoms that may be seen in dogs with heart murmurs. If you notice any of these symptoms, it’s important to take your dog to the vet for a checkup.

Causes of Heart Murmurs in Chihuahuas

It might be difficult to pinpoint the murmur’s origin. Heart murmurs may develop in Chihuahuas due to various heart defects and diseases. A veterinarian would often seek to determine the reason based on many types of blood flow abnormalities, such as:

➥Regurgitant Flow

It is the most common type of murmur. The backflow of blood causes it because the valves do not close properly. The leaflets may be thickened, misshapen, or prolapsed.

➥Obstruction Flow

An obstruction in the blood flow causes this type of murmur. It may be due to a blockage in the valve, chamber, or arteries.

➥Abnormal Vibrations

An irregular heart rhythm often causes abnormal vibrations. This can result from arrhythmogenic right ventricular cardiomyopathy (ARVC), a fatal heart condition that mostly affects young to middle-aged dogs.

These are just some of the potential causes of heart murmurs. If you suspect your Chihuahua has a heart murmur, it is best to take it to the vet for proper diagnosis and treatment.

Heart Murmurs Grading Scale

Heart murmurs have various sounds. Others vary in terms of time, location, and intensity. Typically, heart disease severity doesn’t correspond with the murmur’s intensity. The severity of the cardiac murmur is divided into several categories by veterinarians.

Heart murmurs are graded on a scale of I to VI, with grade I being the mildest and Grade VI being the most severe. The grading is based on how loud the murmur is and how well the heart is functioning.

➢Grade I 

-Mild murmur that is barely audible

-Heart function is normal

➢Grade II 

-Moderate murmur that is easily heard

-Heart function is normal

➢Grade III 

-Severe murmur that is loud and can be heard without a stethoscope

-Heart function may be reduced

➢Grade IV 

-Very severe murmur that is loud and can be heard without a stethoscope

-Heart function is significantly reduced

➢Grade V 

-Extremely severe murmur that is audible even with a stethoscope

-Heart function is severely reduced

➢Grade VI 

-Inaudible murmur due to heart failure

-Heart function is severely reduced or nonexistent

These grading scales will help your veterinarian determine how severe your Chihuahua’s heart murmur is and what treatment options are available.

Types of Heart Murmur in Chihuahuas

There are several types of heart murmur common in dogs. Some type of murmur doesn’t usually require treatment and often goes away on their own. Let’s take a look at some of the most common types of heart murmur in Chihuahuas.

∎Systolic Murmurs

A systolic heart murmur is most common. Pulmonary stenosis, also known as subaortic stenosis, is a blood artery constriction that prevents blood flow and is among the most common trigger of systolic murmurs. A systolic murmur may also occur from the following underlying medical conditions:

  1. Anemia: It is a blood disorder that causes an insufficient number of red blood cells. This can lead to a lack of oxygen in the body and cause a systolic murmur.
  2. Hyperthyroidism: It is a condition where the thyroid gland produces too much of the hormone thyroxine. This can cause an increased heart rate and lead to a systolic murmur.
  3. Heartworm disease: It is a parasitic infection that is transmitted by mosquitoes. Heartworm disease can cause damage to the heart and lungs, leading to a systolic murmur.
  4. Cardiomyopathy: It is a disease of a heart muscle that can lead to heart failure and can cause a systolic murmur.
  5. Tricuspid and Mitral heart failure: These are two types of heart failure that can lead to a systolic murmur.
  6. Aortic valve insufficiency: It is a condition where the aortic valve does not close properly. This can cause blood to leak back into the heart and lead to a systolic murmur.
  7. (SAM) or Systolic anterior mitral motion: SAM is a condition where mitral valves do not close properly, which causes blood to leak back into the heart and lead to a systolic murmur.
  8. Endocarditis of the tricuspid and mitral valve: An inflammation of heart valves can lead to a systolic murmur.

∎Diastolic Murmurs

Diastolic murmur is less common than a systolic murmur. Diastolic murmur occurs when blood flow through the heart’s valves is turbulent. It can be caused by an obstruction in the valve or by a leaky valve. Diastolic murmurs are often benign and don’t require treatment. Some underlying medical conditions that can cause diastolic murmurs are the following:

  1. Aortic valve insufficiency: It is a condition where the aortic valve does not close properly. This can cause blood to leak back into the heart and lead to diastolic murmurs.
  2. Mitral valve insufficiency: It is a condition where mitral valves do not close properly. This can cause blood to leak back into the heart and lead to diastolic murmur.
  3. Tricuspid valve insufficiency: It is a condition where the tricuspid valve does not close properly. This can cause blood to leak back into the heart and lead to diastolic murmur.
  4. Pulmonic valve insufficiency: It is a condition where the pulmonic valve does not close properly. This can cause blood to leak back into the heart and lead to diastolic murmur.
  5. Tricuspid and mitral valve endocarditis: It is an inflammation of heart valves that can lead to diastolic murmur.

∎Continuous Murmurs

A continuous murmur is a type of murmur that occurs throughout the entire heart cycle. This type of murmur is often caused by a

(PDA)patent ductus arteriosus. It is a congenital heart defect that occurs when the ductus arteriosus does not close properly after birth. It can cause blood to flow to pulmonary artery from the aorta, leading to a continuous murmur.

∎(Physiological) Innocent Murmurs

An innocent murmur is a type of benign murmur that doesn’t require treatment. Innocent murmurs are often caused by normal blood flow through the heart or turbulence created when blood flow hits an obstruction in the heart. Innocent murmurs are often heard in puppy and adult dogs.

∎Congenital Heart Murmurs

Congenital heart murmurs are a type of murmur present at birth. Your veterinarian could suspect congenital heart defects if your Chihuahua puppy seems to have a loud murmur or one that doesn’t get better as the puppy grows. Many congenital heart defects can be helped with medication or surgery.

Factors Affecting How Long Can a Chihuahua Live With a Heart Murmur

Factors Affecting How Long Can a Chihuahua Live With a Heart Murmur

Now that you know what a heart murmur is and some of its possible causes, you’re probably wondering how long your Chihuahua can live with this condition. The answer to this question depends on several factors, such as:

✔Type of Heart Murmur

The type of heart murmur will play a big role in how long Chihuahua live with a heart murmur. For example, if your dog has an innocent murmur, it will likely have a normal life span. However, their life expectancy will be much shorter if your dog has a congenital heart defect.

✔Heart Murmur Severity

The severity of a heart murmur will also play a role in how long your Chihuahua lives with this condition. If the heart murmur is mild, your dog may only need to be monitored by a veterinarian and can live a relatively normal life. However, if the heart murmur is severe, your dog may require medication or surgery.

✔The Age of Your Chihuahua

The age of your Chihuahua will also play a role in how long they live with a heart murmur. For example, if your dog is a puppy, they may outgrow their heart murmur. However, the heart murmur is more likely to be permanent if your dog is an adult or senior.

✔General Health of Your Chihuahua

The general health of your Chihuahua will also play a role in how long they live with a heart murmur. If your dog is generally healthy, it may be able to live a normal life despite its heart condition. However, if your dog has other health problems, the heart murmur may shorten its life expectancy.

Heart Murmur Treatment 

It’s crucial to understand that heart murmurs are often not deadly and that most dogs with this condition can live relatively normal lives. In fact, many heart murmurs do not require treatment at all. But, the problems and symptoms associated with Heart murmur must be treated. If not, your Chihuahua’s quality of life will suffer, which may shorten their lifespan.

Treating the symptoms associated with a heart murmur is essential to improve the quality of your Chihuahua’s life. Some of the most common treatments for heart murmurs include:

①Medication

If your dog has a mild heart murmur, your veterinarian may prescribe medication to help control the symptoms. Medications such as beta-blockers and ACE inhibitors can help slow the heart rate and reduce the amount of blood pumped through the heart with each beat.

②Surgery

In some cases, surgery may be necessary to treat a heart murmur. For example, if your dog has a congenital heart defect, surgery may be required to repair the defect. Surgery may also be necessary to remove any obstructions in the heart that are causing the murmur.

③Diet and Exercise

If your Chihuahua has a mild heart murmur, your veterinarian may recommend a special diet and exercise regimen. A low-sodium diet can help reduce the amount of fluid in the body and improve heart function. Exercise can also help to strengthen the heart muscle and improve circulation.

④Monitoring

If your Chihuahua has a heart murmur, it’s crucial to monitor its condition closely. You should take them to the veterinarian for regular checkups and keep an eye out for any changes in their health. If you notice any changes, be sure to contact your veterinarian right away.

By understanding the factors that affect how long a Chihuahua can live with a heart murmur, you can make the best decisions for your dog’s care. With proper treatment and monitoring, most dogs with this condition can live happy and healthy lives.

Taking Care of a Chihuahua With a Heart Murmur

It is worrisome to know that your Chihuahua has a heart murmur as a pet parent. You may be wondering how long they can live with this condition and what you can do to help them. Here are tips to take care of a Chihuahua with a heart murmur:

▶It Important to Catch a Heart Murmur Early

The sooner it is caught, the sooner treatment can begin. Be sure to take your Chihuahua to the veterinarian for regular checkups and always keep an eye out for any changes in their health.

▶Monitor Their Weight and Activity Level Closely

Maintaining a healthy weight and regular exercise are important for all dogs, but it is especially important for those with a heart condition. Be sure to monitor your Chihuahua’s weight closely and make sure they are getting enough exercise.

▶Feed Them a Healthy Diet

A healthy diet is vital for all dogs but especially for those with heart conditions. Be sure to feed them a diet low in sodium and fat and high in fiber. There is also the best dog food for senior Chihuahuas that you can find in the market.

▶Give Them Medication as Prescribed

If your Chihuahua has a heart murmur, they may be prescribed medication to help control the symptoms. It is essential to give them this medication as prescribed by your veterinarian.

▶Provide a Calm Environment

Stress can aggravate heart conditions. Be sure to provide your Chihuahua with a calm and quiet environment. Avoid things that may cause them stress, such as loud noises or too much activity.

▶Keep a Good Dental Hygiene 

Your Chihuahua’s dental health is important for their overall health, including their heart. Be sure to brush their teeth regularly and take them to the veterinarian for dental checkups. Good dental hygiene prevents bacteria from entering the bloodstream and damaging the heart.

Herbal Remedies and Supplements to Help a Chihuahua’s Heart

There are a few options if you want to use herbal remedies and supplements to help your Chihuahua’s heart. Herbal remedies can help to improve circulation, reduce stress, and promote heart health. Here are a few herbs and supplements that can help:

🐾Ginger

Ginger is a popular remedy for indigestion. However, it could also help a Chihuahua with heart issues. Ginger increases blood flow, which aids in preventing blood clots. Since ginger could help minimize a certain buildup, it’s more obvious in Chihuahuas who are overweight or have a fat buildup in their arteries. Even with these possible potential health benefits, ginger should only be used moderately. Too much ginger could lead to an upset stomach.

🐾Hawthorn

Hawthorn is an herb that has been used for centuries to treat heart issues. It helps to improve circulation and heart function. Hawthorn can also help reduce stress and anxiety, which can be helpful for Chihuahuas with a heart murmur. Stabilizing irregular or weak heartbeats, it restores regular heart function. It also expands the blood arteries in the heart and brain. It also functions as an antioxidant to help eliminate oxidative stress that can damage cells.

🐾Dandelion

Dandelion is an herb rich in vitamins and minerals, including potassium. Potassium is an important electrolyte for the heart. It helps to regulate blood pressure and heart function. Dandelion also aids in digestion and can help to reduce inflammation.

🐾Ginkgo

Ginkgo has an impact on the cardiovascular and neurological systems. By preventing or lowering the production of (PAF) platelet-activating factor, the component that makes the blood stickier, it specifically enhances circulation. The blood vessels’ flexibility is also preserved by ginkgo. It also scavenges free radicals to mop up cellular damage and inflammation.

🐾Cayenne

Cayenne is an herb that helps to improve circulation. It also helps to prevent blood clots and reduce cholesterol. Cayenne can also help to ease chest pain and other symptoms associated with heart conditions.

🐾Parsley

Parsley is an herb often used as a garnish, but it also has many health benefits. It is rich in vitamins and minerals, including potassium. Potassium is an important electrolyte for the heart and helps regulate blood pressure and heart function. Parsley also aids in digestion and can help to reduce inflammation.

Dietary Supplements

🐾Coenzyme Q10

Coenzyme Q-0 is a nutrient that is found in every cell of the body. It’s important for energy production and acts as an antioxidant. Coenzyme Q-0 has been shown to improve heart function and prevent heart disease. It can also help to reduce the risk of blood clots and stroke.

🐾Carnitine

Carnitine is an amino acid that helps the body to produce energy. It also plays a role in fat metabolism. Carnitine has been shown to improve heart function and prevent heart disease.

🐾Vitamins A, C, B6, and E

Vitamins A, C, and B- Complex vitamins (B-12, folic acid, niacin), and E are all important for heart health. These vitamins help to protect the heart from damage and improve heart function.

🐾L-Taurine

L-Taurine is an amino acid that is important for heart health. It helps to protect the heart from damage and improve heart function.

🐾Essential Fatty Acids

Essential fatty acids are important for heart health. They help to reduce inflammation and improve heart function.

🐾Magnesium

Magnesium is a mineral that is important for heart health. It helps to reduce blood pressure and improve heart function.

These are just a few herbs and supplements that can help improve heart health. If you are considering taking any of these supplements, it’s important to talk to your veterinarian first.

Frequently Asked Questions

❗What does a heart murmur mean in a chihuahua?

A heart murmur is an abnormal sound that is made by the heart. It can be caused by several things, including congenital heart defects, valve problems, or other heart conditions. Heart murmurs can range from mild to severe. And if your Chihuahua has a heart murmur, it’s important to talk to your veterinarian about the best course of treatment.

❗How long can a chihuahua live with a heart murmur?

The severity of a heart murmur will play a big role in how long your Chihuahua will live with the condition. In some cases, treatment can improve the prognosis. However, your Chihuahua’s life expectancy may be unknown right after diagnosis. But with treatment and close monitoring, many chihuahuas can live long and healthy lives with a heart murmur.

❗How much does it cost to treat a Chihuahua with a heart murmur?

The cost of treatment will vary depending on the severity of the condition and the course of treatment. In some cases, treatment may not be necessary. However, if your Chihuahua does need treatment, it can be expensive. The good news is that a number of organizations can help offset the cost of treatment.

❗How long can a Chihuahua live with a grade 5 heart murmur?

A grade 5 heart murmur is considered to be severe. The prognosis for chihuahuas with a grade heart murmur is generally poor. However, with treatment and close monitoring, many chihuahuas can live long and healthy lives.

❗How can you help your Chihuahua with a heart murmur?

If your Chihuahua has a heart murmur, there are a few things that you can do to help:

  1. It’s important to maintain a healthy weight. Obesity can worsen heart conditions.
  2. You should avoid giving your Chihuahua any type of strenuous exercise.
  3. You should make sure to keep all of your Chihuahua’s vet appointments.

❗Is CBD oil good for Chihuahua with a heart murmur?

Some people believe that CBD oil can help to improve heart health. However, there is no scientific evidence to support this claim. If you are considering giving your Chihuahua CBD oil, it’s important to talk to your veterinarian first.

❗Should shock collars be used on a Chihuahua with a heart murmur?

Shock collars should not be used on any dog, regardless of whether or not they have a heart condition. These devices can cause physical and emotional harm to your Chihuahua.

Final Thoughts

How long can a chihuahua live with a heart murmur depends on the severity of the condition. But with treatment and close monitoring, many chihuahuas can live long with a heart murmur. And as a Chihuahua owner, you play a big role in helping your Chihuahua live a long and healthy life. Following the tips in this article can make a big difference in your Chihuahua’s health.