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Detection of innocent systolic murmurs by auscultation and their relation to hematologic and echocardiographic findings in clinically normal Whippets

Valérie C. BavegemsDepartment of Medicine and Clinical Biology of Small Animals, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Ghent University, 9820 Merelbeke, Belgium.

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Luc DuchateauDepartment of Physiology and Biometrics, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Ghent University, 9820 Merelbeke, Belgium.

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Ingeborgh E. PolisDepartment of Medicine and Clinical Biology of Small Animals, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Ghent University, 9820 Merelbeke, Belgium.

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Luc M. Van HamDepartment of Medicine and Clinical Biology of Small Animals, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Ghent University, 9820 Merelbeke, Belgium.

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André F. De RickDepartment of Medicine and Clinical Biology of Small Animals, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Ghent University, 9820 Merelbeke, Belgium.

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Stanislas U. SysDepartment of Large Animal Internal Medicine, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Ghent University, 9820 Merelbeke, Belgium.

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Abstract

Objective—To determine murmur prevalence by auscultation of 105 apparently healthy Whippets without signs of cardiac disease, to determine the origin of these murmurs, and to evaluate the influence of sex, type of pedigree (ie, bred for showing or racing), and training on these murmurs.

Design—Cross-sectional study.

Animals—105 client-owned Whippets.

Procedures—All dogs were auscultated by the first author and underwent a complete physical and cardiological examination, together with a hematologic assessment. Several RBC variables and echocardiographic variables were compared between dogs with or without a murmur at the level of the aortic valve.

Results—44 of 105 (41.9%) dogs had no murmur. A soft systolic murmur was present with point of maximal intensity at the level of the aortic valve in 50 (47.6%) dogs, at the level of the pulmonic valve in 8 (7.6%) dogs, and at the level of the mitral valve in 3 (2.9%) dogs. No significant differences were found in heart rate, rhythm, murmur presence, point of maximal intensity, and murmur grade between males and females, between dogs with race- and show-type pedigrees, or between dogs in training and not in training. Dogs with a murmur at the level of the aortic valve had a significantly higher aortic and pulmonic blood flow velocity and cardiac output, compared with dogs without a murmur.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Whippets have a high prevalence of soft systolic murmurs in the absence of any structural abnormalities, which fit the description of innocent murmurs. No influence of sex, pedigree type, or training was found on the occurrence of these murmurs in Whippets.

Abstract

Objective—To determine murmur prevalence by auscultation of 105 apparently healthy Whippets without signs of cardiac disease, to determine the origin of these murmurs, and to evaluate the influence of sex, type of pedigree (ie, bred for showing or racing), and training on these murmurs.

Design—Cross-sectional study.

Animals—105 client-owned Whippets.

Procedures—All dogs were auscultated by the first author and underwent a complete physical and cardiological examination, together with a hematologic assessment. Several RBC variables and echocardiographic variables were compared between dogs with or without a murmur at the level of the aortic valve.

Results—44 of 105 (41.9%) dogs had no murmur. A soft systolic murmur was present with point of maximal intensity at the level of the aortic valve in 50 (47.6%) dogs, at the level of the pulmonic valve in 8 (7.6%) dogs, and at the level of the mitral valve in 3 (2.9%) dogs. No significant differences were found in heart rate, rhythm, murmur presence, point of maximal intensity, and murmur grade between males and females, between dogs with race- and show-type pedigrees, or between dogs in training and not in training. Dogs with a murmur at the level of the aortic valve had a significantly higher aortic and pulmonic blood flow velocity and cardiac output, compared with dogs without a murmur.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Whippets have a high prevalence of soft systolic murmurs in the absence of any structural abnormalities, which fit the description of innocent murmurs. No influence of sex, pedigree type, or training was found on the occurrence of these murmurs in Whippets.

Contributor Notes

All work was performed at the Department of Medicine and Clinical Biology of Small Animals.

Address correspondence to Dr. Bavegems (valerie.bavegems@UGent.be).