When treatment is necessary, good treatments for heart murmurs in dogs may involve surgical correction or supportive care, according to VCA Animal Hospitals. However, mild heart murmurs may not require any treatment. The best course of action is determined by the underlying cause of the murmur.
The term "heart murmur" is used to describe a heartbeat that sounds abnormal because of blood moving abnormally or unevenly, as noted by Vetstreet. The cause ranges from infectious diseases, such as heartworm, to tumors and congenital valve defects. Veterinarians categorize heart murmurs in one of six grades, depending on how loud they are. A grade one heart murmur is mild, while a grade six is severe.
Harmless heart murmurs, also called physiologic heart murmurs, are fairly common. Although these murmurs usually require little or no treatment, regular monitoring is good to ensure the murmur does not worsen, according to VCA Animal Hospitals. Detailed diagnostic testing, such as electrocardiograms or ultrasounds, can help determine the severity and course of treatment.
Severe heart murmurs can develop into congestive heart disease or congestive heart failure, as noted by Metropolitan Veterinary Associates. These dogs may need medications to slow the progression of the disease and relieve symptoms. The right medications may allow a dog with congestive heart failure to live comfortably for a year or two.