Foal with Heart murmur (also in Vet)

ESH

Well-Known Member
Joined
19 August 2008
Messages
164
Location
Cambridgeshire
Visit site
I have also posted this in veterinary but would be interested to hear if any breeders have any opinions / advice to share.

My vet came out to check on my new born foal and without asking me she did a blood test and ran 3 different test on it. (All came back clear) All because he was a bit slow in getting up and suckling and is a very laid back foal. Then she was worried about his heart and came back the next day to do another blood test (which is a standard one) and listened to his heart, still not happy came back a week later and is now saying he has a heart murmur and is suggesting a scan to diagnose the severity of the murmer and it just so happens she has a vet friend who is doing a PHD on cardiology who will come and do the scan with her.

Nothing can be done if he does have a bad murmur but their reason for doing the scan is that if it is bad they can advise me not to spend time training him as an athlete or have him PTS. Of course on the other hand it may be nothing to worry about and it could be something he could grow out of.

I have told them that I will not have him PTS, I bred him for my own use and he will do what ever he ends up capable of doing and I really can't understand the reason to diagnose something that can't be helped.

What the vet has not seen every time she has been here is the foal running around the field with his mum and enjoying himself like a totaly normal foal.
 

sallyf

Well-Known Member
Joined
29 March 2006
Messages
2,012
Visit site
Sadly it isnt that easy and the vet is right a lot will depend on the severity and location ie going into or out of the heart.
We had a foal that picked up a heart mumur after getting an infection while on box rest.
This caused myocarditis even though he was treated within hours of taking ill.
Sadly we did the he can be a field ornament etc thing but as a yearling it became very obvious that there was a problem and we did what we should have done earlier and had him PTS.
His was a severe systolic heart mumur though.
If you are in Cambridge then i would take him to one of the big practices in Newmarket and find out for sure.
If severe heart murmurs can cause filling in the legs and chest cavity where the fluid doesnt get away so it really isnt as simple just standing in the field for the rest of his life.
Mine got to the stage where he stopped growing and grew a long coat looking like an old man.
Its very sad but the severity is the key to what happens next.
 

Fleur100

Well-Known Member
Joined
9 February 2006
Messages
580
Location
Leicestershire
www.welhamstud.co.uk
Heart murmurs are not uncommon and very prevelant in TBs. You can always get a 2nd opinion from another vet as to whether more investigations are warranted or whether you should just observe & monitor the foal.
 

Spook

Well-Known Member
Joined
7 February 2009
Messages
617
Visit site
So sorry your foal has this problem, a friends foal was diagnosed with a heart murmer, she decided not to have her PTS but sadly she died in the field as a yearling.
If you do intend to ride him perhaps from a safety point of view it would be best to know what the prognosis is as he may not be a safe ride in the long run.
Its so upsetting and I am thinking of you, hope you get a positive outcome.
 

Maggie2

Well-Known Member
Joined
24 May 2003
Messages
634
Visit site
Sorry that there may be a problem, but from what I know all foals are born with a heart murmur, whcih clears itself as the foal gets older. We did have one that still had it slightly at 4 months, but by weaning he passed a vetting with it all normal. I'd take a second opinion and not rush into anything as long as he is well in himself, which he evidently is.
 

Tnavas

Well-Known Member
Joined
1 October 2005
Messages
8,480
Location
New Zealand but from UK
Visit site
It is really surprising the number of horses who have heart murmers so don't let the vet stress you too much. Our vet came to do ECG's on several of the schools horses for the local Jockey School. One of the ex racers had one yet had been a succesful racehorse before retiring, and another who was seriously laid back and did as little as possible had a perfect heart score.

If they are doing all these scans for free for the friend doing the research then let them do it. If the vet expects you to pay for it all then say no thanks.
 

stolensilver

Well-Known Member
Joined
16 September 2008
Messages
688
Visit site
A heart murmur is not a diagnosis. It is simply some turbulent bloodflow in the heart or great vessels that is making a noise. Often it is of no consequence ("innocent" murmurs) Sometimes it is a small hole in the heart that closes up as the foal grows and rarely it is a problem.

If he was mine I'd find out how much the echo was going to cost, find out at what age the echo would give the most information and then have the echo done when it is most likely to give you an answer. The best time to do it may not be till he is a bit older. If he's fit and well at the moment there isn't any hurry. The main reason I would want to find out about the severity or innocence of the murmur is because a heart defect can cause sudden death in a horse which is very unsafe if you are considering using the horse for riding.
 

ESH

Well-Known Member
Joined
19 August 2008
Messages
164
Location
Cambridgeshire
Visit site
Thanks for all your replies.

[ QUOTE ]
If they are doing all these scans for free for the friend doing the research then let them do it. If the vet expects you to pay for it all then say no thanks.

[/ QUOTE ] These are my thoughts exactly, but nothing for free.

They scan will be around £250 Which probably means more like £350 by the time they add on little bits here & there and of course the VAT.

I feel that I have already spent so much on getting him here in the first place with the stud fee, the AI and then a way above average post birth check up.

I also feel that he is just too young at the moment to have the stress of going to the surgery for the scans.

I think I will just try and forget about it for the next few months till he is due his first vaccinations and then see what the vet can hear. I will definately be getting another vet to check him at this point.

The point the vet is trying to make about the longer I leave it the more attached to him I will get is daft, as I am so attached to him now and have waited eagerly for a year for him to arrive.

If a heart murmur is picked up in an adult horse on a vetting, are they always scanned to diagnosed severity? or are the grades given just by what the vet hears?
 

JanetGeorge

Well-Known Member
Joined
25 June 2001
Messages
7,006
Location
Shropshire/Worcs. borders
www.horseandhound.co.uk
If you're going to have to pay £250 - 300 for a scan by your vet and her 'student' friend, then I would put foalie in a lorry and take him to Mark Patteson - http://www.valevetsreferrals.co.uk/our_clinicians/mark_patteson He is the best in the country!!

Anyone can scan a heart - it is interpreting the results that takes immense skill and experience. My own vet is a great vet - he does all my repro scanning, leg injury scanning etc. - but when he picked up a very 'odd' murmur in one of my fillies he didn't even suggest HE scan it - immediate referral to Mark Patteson - the bill was JUST under £300 - filly was fine!

There are many different types of murmurs - some are totally insignificant and some are 'sinister'. It takes an expert to sort the wheat from the chaff. However, I would leave him alone for now - murmurs can disappear completely, and they can change completely - and in such a young foal .... TBH, I wonder how many young foals' hearts your vet has listened to!!
 

ESH

Well-Known Member
Joined
19 August 2008
Messages
164
Location
Cambridgeshire
Visit site
Thanks Janet, I had heard or Mark Patteson. I also know there is Lesley Young in Newmarket who specialises in Equine Cardiology and she would only be an hours drive from me.

[ QUOTE ]
I wonder how many young foals' hearts your vet has listened to!!

[/ QUOTE ] Yes I was wondering this too. Infact I was wondering how many ID foals she has seen, as she is concerned about how laid back he is. One of the reasons I love the ID breed.
grin.gif


Thanks - I feel so much happier now.
 
Top