Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Veterinary fact of the day: innocent murmurs

A two month old golden retriever puppy comes in for a check up, and the veterinarian auscults (listens to) her heart routinely. The vet hears a murmur, a II out of VI. Lower numbers mean quieter and less serious murmurs, so this one isn’t very loud. Does the veterinarian panic? No! Puppies often do have “innocent” murmurs, most of which go away with age. “Let’s wait and see” is an OK answer here (though not the right one in every case, of course).

Where do innocent murmurs come from? Puppies have less fat and muscle in their chest walls than adult dogs do, so very soft murmurs are easier to hear. They also have fewer red blood cells, which can make the motion of the blood through their hearts more turbulent, and that can also cause a murmur.

Disclaimer: I am not a doctor of puppies yet. Please do not make any medical decisions based on these blog posts.

What I did today: Two hours of anesthesia lecture. Two hours of small animal medicine/surgery lecture. Lunch! (Goofed off and hung out with friends while I ate. Luxury.) Two hours of large animal medicine/surgery lecture. (Calf diarrhea!) Chased down friendly tech, got expired suture for practicing knots and suturing. Gym! Home! Lots of studying tonight, and what will hopefully be the for-reals-last thesis edits.

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