Most people don’t realize it, but many puppies are born with a heart murmur in which the heart doesn’t function properly. There are different grades of a puppy heart murmur and the least serious cases will actually resolve on their own with extra care as the puppy grows.
Heart murmurs occur when the blood flow in the upper two chambers of the heart called the left and right atrium’s valves don’t close as they should and it leaks blood, making a whooshing sound when listened to with a stethoscope.
Reputable dog breeders will not usually breed a parent dog to another if one has a heart defect, such as a tumor, that can be passed down to the puppies. Breeders will also make sure each puppy has a clean bill of health and certify it through their veterinarian.
It is neither illegal if you are buying or selling a puppy with a heart murmur, if both parties in the agreement realize that it exists, what type it is, and if it will correct itself on its own.
Should You Buy a Puppy With A Heart Murmur?
In less serious cases of a heart murmur in puppies, it’s fine to purchase a puppy from a reputable breeder while knowing the heart murmur exists.
The breeder should be experienced and will know if this has occurred in the past in other puppies and has corrected itself as it grew older.
On the other hand, if you are looking for a puppy and find one you really love at a puppy mill that breeds all different types of puppies and doesn’t take good care of the parent dogs or pups, you shouldn’t buy one that isn’t well.
These types of breeders are mainly just in it for the money and they won’t advise you about their health condition because they likely have not had a clean bill of health from a vet to save on their costs and make a larger profit.
In more serious cases of heart murmurs such as the grade 3 to 6 in seriousness, you may not want to purchase the puppy because it may have a heart condition that will not allow it to live very long.
It’s extremely hard to fall in love with your new four-legged family friend and then only have it for a very short time.
Is A Heart Murmur in A Puppy Serious?
It can be very serious depending on how bad the heart murmur is. There are grades of puppy heart murmurs from 1 to 6, with 6 being the worst condition of the pup.
The grades of 1 and 2 are often found in puppies who are between 12 and 18 weeks old and they will have very mild symptoms.
Murmurs of a higher intensity of grades 3 through 6 may mean that the murmur is actually a congenital heart defect that could affect the pup so he doesn’t live very long.
Grades 1 and 2 heart murmurs will usually disappear on their own by about 18 weeks as long as you feed your puppy nutritional food to grow and be healthy, and even a little pudgy is okay at this point of his life.
If you choose to adopt a puppy with a grade 1 or 2 murmur in his heart, you should ask for the sale to pend on a clean bill of health from your vet by the age of 18 to 20 weeks of your pup to protect your investment.
This way, a good breeder will give you your money back if something happens before this time.
It may be not advisable to adopt a puppy or sell one that is known to have a grade 3 through 6 heart murmur for the safety and security of both parties involved.
You may want to simply search for a different puppy that may even be from the same litter of pups without a heart condition. If you schedule a video call with a veterinarian, he can help you to decide what is best for you and for your family.
How Much Does It Cost to Fix a Heart Murmur in a Puppy?
In order to recognize a heart murmur in a puppy, your veterinarian will listen to its heart with a stethoscope and possibly do a cardiac ultrasound to determine the complexity of the sounds.
After assigning the condition a grade, you can decide what you want to proceed with and for the lower two grades, you shouldn’t need to do anything but take great care of your new family member for it to resolve on its own.
If the condition is more serious, just the tests needed by your vet could be $1,500 or more to make an exact diagnosis. Then, depending on the condition, and its treatment methods will determine the price to correct it.
Heart valve defects are around $3,000 to $8,000 to correct, heart inflammation correction is between $2,000 and $6,000, heart sac inflammation is around $2,000 to $6,000 for treatment.
Narrowing arteries, which are more common in grades 1 and 2, are about $20 to $50 per month for the beta-blocking drugs. If your pup has constricted arteries, he may need a special diet that costs an extra $20 to $40 a month more than regular dog food.
A heart tumor requires surgery that can start at $1,500 and then need radiation therapy from $2,000 to $6,000.
You should always take your newly adopted puppy to your vet right away for a well puppy checkup, even if you get a clean bill of health from the person you bought it from. As you can tell, it may be out of your reach to buy the puppy and then not be able to afford the care it needs to be healthy. Make sure you also get the sale depending on a clean bill of health at the age of 18 to 20 weeks if you decide a puppy with a grade 1 or 2 heart murmur is the one for you.