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LIVING WITH: Heart Conditions (Diagnoses) by Georgia Burton

Initial diagnosis: 

If your Bulldog has received a diagnosis of a heart condition, we understand just what a worrying time this is for you. Bulldog Rescue are often asked to step in to help families with this problem. We are here 24/7 to offer help, support and advice whether that might be to help him or her remain in your home, or support your decision to request a foster home, so they can live the rest of their lives with us. We currently have 5 heart babies in care at the moment, all remaining with us in permanent foster care: Harriet, Walter, Winston, Whitby and Tokyo. Four of these dogs have pulmonary/ arterial stenosis and one has additional PDA. Four are standard colour and one is CNR. Most puppies presenting with heart murmurs are picked up by the vet at the 8 week/12 week checks. Low grade "soft" puppy murmurs are very common, and many will resolve themselves by the time they are 4 to 6 months of age. Any murmur continuing past this age, will remain for life. If your vet has picked up on a heart murmur, the first thing to find out is the grade. The grade depends on the loudness of the defect, heard through your vet's stethoscope, they can include whooshing noises and irregular heartbeats and are graded between 1 - 6. You might be given this in ranges, so 1-2, 4-6 etc. Grade 6 is the highest and is so audible it can be picked up without the stethoscope touching your dog's body. Dogs can live fine with 1's and 2's but in our experience 3's and over will mean your dog's condition is going to be life limiting, with poor long term prognosis including congestive left and/or right sided heart failure, particularly in the higher grades.