My response was, "No, Marley does not have a heart murmur!" My vet looked at me and offered to check again at the end of the exam. Once she did she confirmed the heart murmur and started talking about quality of life. I totally panicked and started asking a ton of questions in which I'm sure was a high pitched scared tone. My vet suggested I schedule an appointment with a cardiologist, who might be able to answer all of my questions. She referred me to three. I made appointments with all of them. Did I mention I was panicking?
After conducting some research and calling all the cardiologists multiple times, I settled on one and tried not to overreact every time Marley coughed. I found an overwhelming amount of information on canine heart murmurs and a lot of anecdote about other dogs.
Our Canine Cardiologist was wonderful. She conducted an EKG and an Echocardiagram on Marley. The results indicate she has a degenerative mitral valve disease.
This is a genetic condition and Marley was diagnosed at a rather young age. Her heart is still normal and her EKG and blood pressure are also normal. We have a follow-up scheduled and will hopefully determine the rate of deterioration.
The good news is the cardiologist gave us permission to allow Marley to gain some weight and we can continue our regular activities.
I am still a bit overwhelmed at the fact that my sassy, athletic dog has a heart condition.