Testing will be done to determine the exact location of the most intense area of the murmur and then the murmur will be graded on a scale of 0/6 to 6/6 (more ahead)
An X-ray of the dog's chest is usually performed. This is helpful to see the size and shape of the heart. Any abnormal enlargement of the heart's chambers can usually be spotted, which would indicate a more severe case.
An EKG is important as it will determine the severity of the heart's valve narrowing and it will measure electrical impulses to the Boxer's heart.
With Aortic Stenosis, the left ventricle wall of the heart thickens. This test will measure the extent of the thickness and well as the internal dimensions of the heart.
Doppler Test -
A Doppler test is a specialized ultrasound test that measures the flow of blood through a blood vessel. Of most concern, will be the left ventricle. The flow rate can tell you a lot. Flow is measured by meters per second.
If a dog has a flow that is LESS than 4 meters per second, he will usually live to full life expectancy
and not have any major problems.
If a Boxer has a flow that is MORE than 5 meters per second, this is an indication that the dog will be affected by this disease; though all tests will be combined together to give the murmur a 'grade'.
This is the grading system:
This is considered to be very mild and will not affect quality of life or life span
- This is also in the mild category. 95% of Boxer dogs that are in the class will not develop symptoms that impede his/her health
- A murmur of this scale is considered to be moderate. Most Boxer puppies
and dogs will not suffer from any symptoms; however 10 to 15% will. Dogs given a grade of either 3/6 or 4/6 should be watched closely and monitored often to check for possible problems and to see if the murmur worsens as the dog ages.
At this grading, the murmur is considered to be severe. Unfortunately, the majority of Boxer dogs that are graded with a 5/6 or 6/6 are likely to develop symptoms and may have shorter life spans. Medication will most certainly be given and the dog must be monitored on a regular basis.