Innocent Cardiac Murmur in Puppies: Prevalence, Correlation with Hematocrit, and Auscultation Characteristics

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    BACKGROUND: The aims of this study were to establish the prevalence of innocent cardiac murmurs in clinically healthy puppies, to investigate a possible correlation between the presence of an innocent murmur and hematocrit, and to describe the auscultation characteristics of innocent murmurs.

    HYPOTHESIS: Lower hematocrit contributes to the genesis of innocent murmurs.

    ANIMALS: Five hundred and eighty-four client-owned clinically healthy puppies, between 20 and 108 days old.

    METHODS: Two cross-sectional surveys with a 1-year (n = 389 pups) pilot and a half-year (n = 195 pups) principal study periods. Cardiac auscultation was performed by a single, board-certified cardiologist. Hematocrit was measured with an automatized hematology analyzer. Echocardiography was performed only on puppies with a cardiac murmur in the principal study.

    RESULTS: In the pilot study, 15% of the dogs had a murmur. Innocent murmur was diagnosed in 28% of the 195 dogs in the principal study. Innocent murmurs were systolic, mostly with a musical character and with a maximal intensity of 2 of 6, and mostly with the point of maximal intensity in the left cardiac base. The hematocrit was significantly lower in the group with a murmur compared to the group without (P = .023).

    CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL IMPORTANCE: Innocent murmur was a common finding in puppies at the age when the first veterinary controls usually take place. Physiologic anemia contributes to the genesis of innocent murmurs in puppies. Rising hematocrit in growing puppies can explain the spontaneous disappearance of innocent murmurs with aging. Hematocrit did not differentiate innocent murmurs from abnormal murmurs.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1524-1528
    Number of pages5
    JournalJournal of Veterinary Internal Medicine
    Issue number6
    Publication statusPublished - 29 Sept 2015


    • Anemia
    • Congenital
    • Dogs
    • Physiologic
    • Screening


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