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My vet said my dog has a heart murmur – should I be worried?

A heart murmur is a noise related to abnormal blood flow in or out of the chambers of the heart. This is usually only audible with a stethoscope and can be heard in addition to, or instead of, the normal heart beat sounds. While murmurs in growing puppies are normal and often harmless (“innocent” or “puppy” murmurs), in adult dogs it usually indicates an underlying problem.

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Grain-Free Food: Is it Good or Bad?

In the first of a new series on “controversial topics”, we asked vet student Joe Dunne to review the evidence on Grain-free foods for dogs, and the potential health issues. Here’s his take on the situation!

Pet food manufacturing is a big industry. Every day there are more products on our shelves, more adverts featuring cute dogs on TV, and more recommendations on social media. It can certainly make us feel a bit clueless while shopping for kibble. While choice is always a good thing, an increased consumer appetite (pun intended) for ‘exotic’ pet diets, such as grain-free diets, may be causing unintended health issues in our dogs. One of the most talked-about is a potential link to these diets and heart disease in dogs. Today we will be discussing these unusual diets and their potential risks. You can make an informed decision on what your dog devours daily.

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Why Did the Vet Prescribe Pimobendan?

For many owners, getting a diagnosis for their pet, and being given all the medications they need, is a bit of a whirlwind. And often you get home and realise you have unanswered questions or you’ve forgotten what was said. If your pet has recently been prescribed pimobendan, you might be wondering what it is for, and how it works.

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The structure of the heart: everything you didn’t know you wanted to know from Wikivet

heart

The heart is probably the most central structure in the body. Arguably, the brain could be said to be "more important" (death is classified technically as absence of brain activity rather than a motionless heart), but for most of us, a beating heart is synonymous with the presence of life. We all have a heart - whether we are dogs, cats, humans, or indeed frogs - and one of the fascinating things about veterinary science is the fact that the fundamental structure of many organs - including the heart - is surprisingly similar. There must be something intriguing about the structure of the heart: the Wikivet page on this subject has been the most visited page of all over the past year. The main page is a simple description of the various structures - the position of the heart in the chest, the ventricles, the atria and the other connected tissues. If you can read technical language for just five minutes, you can be briefed with a simple but accurate review of the gross anatomy of the heart. The Wikivet heart page also has links to some interesting visual media. Some of these are not publicly accessible: perhaps it's only necessary for vet students to see what heart muscle looks like under the microscope. But other links include a colour coded video that clearly shows the different structures, and the most remarkable three-dimensional video that shows how the heart sits in the middle of the chest. If you have always wondered about what MRI's look like, you can watch a video that shows you MRI sections of the chest, and if you have witnessed the plastinated human exhibitions, you can view a plastinated dog heart. Heart disease is common in pets: if your dog or cat is ever affected, it will help if you can easily visualise what's going on inside a pet's chest. This Wikivet page is a great place to learn all about it.  
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