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Grades of a murmur and what they mean

Catzzzmeow

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We often hear about cats/kittens having murmurs. We hear they are graded in severity from grade 1 through grade 6. I thought sharing exactly what those grades mean might be helpful to many as most only hear the number. Just a reminder some kittens outgrow murmurs in their first year and that a murmur does not always mean HCM positive. Only about 50% of cats that develop HCM even have an audible murmur. The only true way to test for HCM is getting an echocardiogram done. The recommended age to have a cat heart scanned is when then reach maturity around 1 years of age.


Grade I — barely audible
Grade II — soft, but easily heard with a stethoscope
Grade III — intermediate loudness; most murmurs which are related to the mechanics of blood circulation are at least grade III
Grade IV — loud murmur that radiates widely, often including opposite side of chest
Grade V — very loud, audible with stethoscope barely touching the chest; the vibration is also strong enough to be felt through the animal’s chest wall
Grade VI — very loud, audible with stethoscope barely touching the chest; the vibration is also strong enough to be felt through the animal’s chest wall.
 

Yoda mom

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@Catzzzmeow thank you for posting this thread..

I know my active kitten like Yoda man has a grade 3 murmur and just turned 9yrs old Sept 6.
Toby I was told 5 yrs ago is grade 1. Batman Grade 1 years ago too
ClaireBare no murmur

Wanted to share that my vet offered me to listen to the murmur with her stethoscope.
Now I took mine of of my EMT kit to take a listen too

Everyday is a gift

hugs n head smooches
 

Annejo12

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Thank you. My kitty has a murmur but I have never asked my vet what grade. Now I know it would be a good thing to ask. The first time she heard it she did some tests to see if my kitty had heart trouble. She has never been concerned about it so I haven't been worried.

Sphynxlair is a great place for support and information!
 

Uksphynxmum

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My precious Rizzy was diagnosed with grade 2 murmur at about 8 months. I lost him at 12 years 3 months to HCM. The murmur stayed grade 2 throughout his life. HCM only made him unwell for 3 months x
 

Fayiza

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As a new Sphynx owner the possibility of HCM is frightening, even the thought of any murmur development has scared me. But, having a detailed breakdown of each grade murmur helps it seem less scary, so thank you so much! I am bookmarking this in case I ever need to refer to it in the future.
 

kauna

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Thank you for sharing the information. We can learn a lot from one another. Love this group
 

oolahappi

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Thanks for the share. My 2.5 year old is HCM negative, but grade 2 murmur. My 10 week old not HCM tested, no murmur. For the former, my vet said nothing to be concerned about right now and it may never progress beyond grade 2.
 

Sheldon13

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From a nurse’s perspective:

In people murmurs are similarly graded. It is VERY common for children to have a low grade murmur that self resolved as they age. Even if it sticks around a grade 1 or 2 murmur is unlikely to cause much of an issue. The only thing I can think of is a higher likelihood to throw a clot. As long as they are otherwise healthy though this shouldn’t really happen.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk Pro
 

Yoda mom

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@JojoCatMama I still recall that sinking feeling when the vet looked up at me and handed me the stethoscope to listen to his grade 3 murmur ..
having a great working relationship with your vet definitely brings peace of mind and a course of action to follow.

He has no idea he has a grade 3 murmur ...
two of the others have grade 1 for years ... no issues

they only know our love

(((hugs))) and positive vibes
will follow your thread for updates
 

gollumthesphynx

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thank you for the share!
my baby gollum is 6.5 months old and is about to get neutered. he has a grade 2 heart murmur and the doctor suggested that we do the heart ultrasound, along with a series of blood tests. however, that would cost around $1000 CAD. the doctor mentioned that she was instructed to tell me the possible risks of putting my baby under with the heart murmur.
i'm also worried that he may have HCM, but i feel like i should do the ultrasound in 6 months, when he reaches 1 years old.
 

tgvess

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Always good to be educated and informed. My Lucy is 5 and presented with a murmur in July when I took her to the vet for gastrointestinal upset. The vet recommended an echo so I had one done and the results did not show HCM or any other obvious issue/damage. I was told she has an "innocent/functional murmur" which could have been due to an infection she might have had at the time as there are no other diseases or defects detected. My vet will do bloodwork at her next appointment to rule out anything like anemia, hyperthyroidism, etc and will recommend repeating scans only if the murmur changes or something in her blood work would warrant it. I felt so relieved!
 
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