Content continues after advertisement

Subclinical Subaortic Stenosis in a Golden Retriever

Kursten Pierce, DVM, DACVIM (Cardiology), Colorado State University


November 2018
Peer Reviewed

Sign in to Print/View PDF


A 12-month-old intact female golden retriever is presented for a wellness examination and to discuss the pros and cons of breeding the patient versus pursuing ovariohysterectomy. The owner would like her to produce one litter of puppies prior to being spayed.

On physical examination, the patient is bright, alert, and responsive. She is extremely energetic with a good BCS (4/9) and appropriate musculature. Cardiovascular examination reveals pink mucous membranes, no obvious jugular venous distension, and a normal heart rate and rhythm with normal synchronous femoral pulses. Auscultation is difficult and brief because the patient is rambunctious and panting. Despite the panting, she is eupneic with clear bronchovesicular sounds. A grade II/VI left basilar systolic heart murmur is auscultated. A murmur had not previously been documented at her puppy wellness visits. The owner has not observed any coughing, trouble breathing, exercise intolerance, or syncope at home, and the patient appears subclinically affected.

Diagnostic investigation of the heart murmur via echocardiography is discussed with the owner but declined due to the patient’s lack of clinical signs and the costs associated with additional testing.

What are the next steps? 



To provide information on breeding and caring for a pregnant bitch and neonatal puppies and plan to spay the patient after the puppies have been weaned.


To avoid providing additional recommendations regarding breeding and ovariohysterectomy to the owner until a diagnostic investigation with a cardiologist has been pursued.


Which option did you choose?

CHF = congestive heart failure, LVOT = left ventricular outflow tract, SAS = subaortic stenosis


For global readers, a calculator to convert laboratory values, dosages, and other measurements to SI units can be found here.

All Clinician's Brief content is reviewed for accuracy at the time of publication. Previously published content may not reflect recent developments in research and practice.

Material from Clinician's Brief may not be reproduced, distributed, or used in whole or in part without prior permission of Educational Concepts, LLC. For questions or inquiries please contact us.


Clinician's Brief:
The Podcast
Listen as host Alyssa Watson, DVM, talks with the authors of your favorite Clinician’s Brief articles. Dig deeper and explore the conversations behind the content here.
Clinician's Brief provides relevant diagnostic and treatment information for small animal practitioners. It has been ranked the #1 most essential publication by small animal veterinarians for 9 years.*

*2007-2017 PERQ and Essential Media Studies

© 2022 Educational Concepts, L.L.C. dba Brief Media ™ All Rights Reserved. Terms & Conditions | DMCA Copyright | Privacy Policy | Acceptable Use Policy