Heart Murmurs Make Anesthesia Dangerous
A Heart Murmur Is A Sound, Not A Diagnosis!
Feline heart murmurs have numerous causes. Some murmurs come from little things that aren’t harmful. Some murmurs are created by severe heart disease. Most murmurs do come from the heart, but sometimes we hear murmurs when the heart is perfectly normal. Many murmurs are not dangerous at all, even during anesthesia.
A feline heart murmur means only that a cardiac abnormality MAY exist, and it might or might not be serious. Only an echocardiogram can tell. The loudness of the murmur does not correlate with the potential severity of disease. Soft, quiet little murmurs can come from awful hearts, and loud murmurs can be completely “innocent.”
A heart murmur is just a sound. Because the same sound can be created by lots of different things, we need an echocardiogram to understand what the murmur means. By itself, a murmur does not make anesthesia dangerous. Most importantly, it DOES mean we need to look deeper and find out what is causing the sound. Only then can we understand what the murmur means for anesthesia, and for the health and life expectancy of our feline companion.
The most common first symptom of severe feline heart disease is sudden death. Detection of a heart murmur during a veterinary examination is our chance to diagnose, treat, and prevent that!