Lv 4
Amber asked in PetsDogs · 4 weeks ago

Help on conflicting vet opinions?

I took my sixteen year old dog to the vets last week for a check-up and because I was concerned about her arthritis. A year ago she was diagnosed with a stage 3 heart murmur and I wanted it checked.

The vet I saw (Holly) last week said it was still stage 3. But she was very concerned and wanted blood tests and to put her on medication. She made it sound extremely serious which made me worry. So I go back a few days later for the arthritis and see a different vet (Rebecca) because the other was called out on an emergency. I asked Rebecca her opinion on my dog's heart without mentioning what the other vet had said just to see. She said she didn't think we needed to give medication yet but said she felt her arthritis was a bigger concern than her heart and never even suggested doing a blood test. She said she couldn't hear any fluid around the heart and wasn't too concerned right now but it could do with being monitored. She gave me some symptoms to look out for that might suggest it was worsening. The other one made it sound so serious, so which so I listen to? I'm still doing the blood tests but should I be that worried? Never seen either vet before do don't have much to go on.

 Thanks for your thoughts

6 Answers

  • 4 weeks ago

    There are no Vets on this site to address this. & not being VETS, I don't think we can help you.

    The first Vet may have been one of these new age Vet who find way for you to have come back & come back & lead you on & on. I like the second Vet. If the arthritis is in worse shape than the heart, yeah, it is best to start treatment on it. The heart is staying stable where it is right now & the arthritis is a major source of major pain. Stopping the pain will put less stress on the heart.

  • 4 weeks ago

    Do the tests especially any and all blood tests.  First, you cannot BELIEVE how much they can find out from blood tests - as to diagnostics.  And some arthritis medications are NOT so safe, and can affect other organs like liver & kidney - in the case of Rimadyl or Deramaxx. If you have to choose a medication (not just joint a supplement) then I suggest Gabapentine.

    Second, a reluctance to walk or any lethargy are signs of a PROBLEM in dogs with heart murmurs.  You (nor the vet) can know (for SURE at this point) if the issue causing the dog problems - that you ATTRIBUTE to arthritis - is at all related (INSTEAD) to the heart murmur.  Grade 3 is where things can turn serious and affect other organs.  Dog heart attacks are possible depending on the TYPE (not the grade) of the heart murmur (which you did not give us - if you know it) and congestive HEART FAILURE. is also a possibility.  IMO; better safe than sorry.


  • Maxi
    Lv 7
    4 weeks ago

    Same vet pratice so all information about your dog is in the dogs record at the vets, so each vet will know what the another vet in the practice has found/done/recommended...there is no confliction with the vets, just differing ways they express themselves to clients...... 16yr old dog, with arthritus and heart murmur..blood test is normal practise as it informs them more about a raft of issues/potential issues and what medication to prescribe or not if you choose to give your dog wanted to know now the other wanted you to return reguarly to monitor.

  • PR
    Lv 7
    4 weeks ago

    Our cat has had a heart murmur for years. If the vet gave you symptoms to watch for, then do that. At age 16, you should bring the dog in for annual exams, anyway. Consider giving glucosamine which may help both the arthritis and the murmur. Omega 3's may also be beneficial. Your dog is lucky you care and take good care of her. Vets often give varying opinions which, of course, can be confusing for the owner.

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  • *****
    Lv 7
    4 weeks ago

    Vets are individuals that can have differing opinions on what's an appropriate course of action. Some tend towards more aggressive treatment while others are more conservative. There are advantages and disadvantages to each approach, and a stage 3 murmur should be taken seriously and definitely monitored, and may or may not warrant medication. No one's opinion here on what you should do for your specific dog is going to be worth anything at all in this scenario, as we are not veterinarians, and have not personally examined your dog even if some of us were. 

    The blood tests would determine whether her other organs are in good condition and what medications can be offered, so of course the vet who recommended the more aggressive approach of medicating now would recommend them, and the other wouldn't mention them. 

    Ask lots of questions and make up your own mind which course of action to pursue. You can also ask for a referral to a specialist and have an echocardiogram done to see what's causing the murmur and how advanced the issue is, and get the expert's opinion if you want more information. 

  • Goerge
    Lv 7
    4 weeks ago

    What sounds like the best course of action to you? One sounds like better safe than sorry and the other says wait and see.

    Putting her on meds would seem to be determined by the blood test and not in addition to.

    Withholding that piece of information has possibly lent a hand to this problem. When going for a second opinion you do want it to be unbiased but you could always cal them back and see if you could talk with the vote over the phone and fill her in. See if it changes her tune or if she may have some advice. They've talked to others in your same situation.

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