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laurenlyn1
29th October 2006, 01:51 AM
I know some kind of heart problem is in the future for Brady and I. I was just wondering if first, exercise can put off the onset of any heart problem, and if you can still walk your cav if it has a condition.

RodRussell
29th October 2006, 02:38 AM
I was just wondering if first, exercise can put off the onset of any heart problem, and if you can still walk your cav if it has a condition.

The answer to the first question is "no", and to the second one, "usually yes". Exercise still is very important, however, in dealing with mitral valve disease. The stronger the dog, the stronger the heart. The fitter the dog, the easier it is for the dog's heart to pump the blood the body needs, despite the failure of the mitral valve to function optimally. So, while I have been told by several experts that exercise will not delay the onset, I believe that a fit Cavalier usually should live longer, because its heart will be strong and sturdy.

As an example, I know of a nearly 13 year old Cavalier which has had an MVD murmur for over 7 years, taking only holistic alternatives to the usual ACE inhibitors and diuretics for the past 2 years and never any conventional MVD medications. The owners thought that, due to the dog's age and symptoms, it may be time to add pimobendan to his medications. This past week, the cardiologist examined the dog, conducted an ultrasound scan, and reviewed x-rays. He concluded that the Cavalier's heart is so strong that adding pimobendan -- which improves heart function -- could overwork the heart and cause more problems.

This dog has been exercised regularly all its life, including during the 7 years since its MVD murmur was first detected, and the exercise has included frequent agility training and competitions for 5 of those 7 years.

Unless your MVD dog is severely affected, you should be able to walk him nearly every day after MVD is diagnosed. Take a look at this website -- http://darcysdaily.blogspot.com/ -- to follow the last 6 months of the life of a Cavalier with severe MVD. You will see that there were days when she could be exercised, but gradually even minimal walking became too much for her. Also, please click http://www.cavalierhealth.org/mitral_valve_disease.htm to view my favorite webpage on MVD.

Rod Russell
Orlando, Florida USA

arasara
29th October 2006, 02:44 AM
awww don't go into it like that !! Look at the positive side - There are the lucky few out there that have no heart problems!!

This is the way I look at it - Healthy weight and regular exercise will keep the dog's body in tip top shape. Genetics obviously play a role and if your dog is going to have early onset mvd, then I don't think there's anything you can do about it, but I think if you keep your dog regularly exercised and at a healthy weight they have a way better outlook through heart troubles than you would if you were diagnosed and had an overweight underexercised dog.

As far as walking a cavalier with heart problems, I am no expert, but if Kosmo were diagnosed with a heart problem tomorrow I would still walk him as much as he was physically able. Of course I wouldn't go crazy with him but I think a stroll around the block is good for not only their physical well being, but also their psychological well being. Kosmo goes CRAZY when he sees me go to the door and I would have a hard time taking that away from him. If he was not able to go too far at all I think I would buy one of those stroller things and still walk myself but put him in that so at least he could enjoy the outdoors. :flwr:

Alison_Leighfield
29th October 2006, 08:25 AM
Sara... cl*p :thmbsup:

That is so RIGHT...keep positive!

Lauren...don't over worry about what might never happen, know the facts then ENJOY your Brady, :flwr: Worry when and if you need to.

Alison, Wilts, U.K.

misty
29th October 2006, 09:46 AM
Exercise won't prevent MVD, but having a cavalier that isn't overweight will help the dog's heart, if MVD does strike.

I wouldn't worry about the future either. Even if MVD were to occur, generally it's all things in moderation. Commonsense is the key - don't exercise a dog with MVD in the heat for example. Keep them cool in the house, with damp towels, a posh short hairdo, that sort of thing ;)

My Cailean has rapid onset MVD and he doesn't go for walkies .... the only reason for this is that he is a very excitable dog (I mean frantically excited :)), and his heart can't stand that.

I am going to try some very short walkies once the cold weather arrives. He did have a tiny walk last night and was shattered afterwards - but he had just had the excitement of meeting our new foster dog too.

Barbara Nixon
29th October 2006, 10:13 AM
Izzy has end stage and has been that bad for almost two years. It could have been longer, but he had no symptoms until december 04. It is meds that have kept him so well for so long and he is well in himself, except for a throaty cough . I don't walk him often as he gets very excited, though, if we had to go out , to the vets for instance, we sneak in a walk before we go back home. The garden is large so he can potter if he wishes and he's quite happy running up and down stairs (he'd be miserable if prevented from doing so).

Not all mvd is as bad as Izzy's; he's 9. Monty is nearly 11 and his murmur doesn't bother him and doean't needmeds.

Neither dog need sputting on a diet , as they have gone thin, naturally.

judy
29th October 2006, 11:30 AM
....Exercise still is very important, however, in dealing with mitral valve disease. The stronger the dog, the stronger the heart. The fitter the dog, the easier it is for the dog's heart to pump the blood the body needs, despite the failure of the mitral valve to function optimally. So, while I have been told by several experts that exercise will not delay the onset, I believe that a fit Cavalier usually should live longer, because its heart will be strong and sturdy.

As an example, I know of a nearly 13 year old Cavalier which has had an MVD murmur for over 7 years, taking only holistic alternatives to the usual ACE inhibitors and diuretics for the past 2 years and never any conventional MVD medications....
This dog has been exercised regularly all its life, including during the 7 years since its MVD murmur was first detected, and the exercise has included frequent agility training and competitions for 5 of those 7 years....

Take a look at this website -- http://darcysdaily.blogspot.com/ -- to follow the last 6 months of the life of a Cavalier with severe MVD. You will see that there were days when she could be exercised, but gradually even minimal walking became too much for her. Also, please click http://www.cavalierhealth.org/mitral_valve_disease.htm to view my favorite webpage on MVD.


thanks for those links. reading Darcy's blog was painful and hard but worth it. very informative, very moving. The other link answers a lot of questions. I found the section on mitral valve repair and replacement very interesting. I had been wondering about that. It's a fairly common treatment in humans. I wonder what obstacles would be faced in trying to get insurance to cover some of it. I think the problem would be because it's experimental. Otherwise, it should be covered.

For a complete cure of the disease, as it's described to be, valve replacement seems worth the $5000 to $10,000, with the hope that there wouldn't be tissue rejection. It's less than buying a new car. I gather there aren't many cavaliers walking around who have had this procedure.
I'm very curious about experiences people have had in getting insurance involved in paying.

I sure do agree with you and Sara about the role of being in good health in how the body deals with diseases and injuries. The story you told of the dog who has been able to avoid the heart medications, with their dangerous adverse effects, was heartening and hopeful to me.

When cavaliers have their teeth cleaned, are they given antibiotics, the way humans with valve disease are?

RodRussell
29th October 2006, 01:48 PM
When cavaliers have their teeth cleaned, are they given antibiotics, the way humans with valve disease are?
Yes. Usually, bloodwork is done, and antibiotics are given to avoid bacteria from the teeth affecting the heart. It is important to be sure that the veterinarian understands that mitral valve disease is a major problem for the breed. Many vets who have not treated Cavaliers do not know that. Once they do, most understand the need for bloodwork and antibiotics. The bloodwork also is important with regard to the anesthesia for dogs with MVD. The worse the grade of MVD, the more careful the vet needs to be with regard to both the anesthesia and bacteria from the teeth cleaning.

Rod Russell
Orlando, Florida USA

AT
29th October 2006, 02:59 PM
Our girl has a grade 5 murmer but is quite happy to walk any distance.

Two of our previous cavaliers had bad hearts & couldnt walk far but I think it was mostly because they had a problem with their throats stopping them getting enough air ,rather than their hearts.

my sister has a 15 year old charlie with a terrible heart but she will walk any distance you like.

Each dog is individual & you can't really predict how things will go.

judy
29th October 2006, 11:52 PM
When cavaliers have their teeth cleaned, are they given antibiotics, the way humans with valve disease are?
Yes. Usually, bloodwork is done, and antibiotics are given to avoid bacteria from the teeth affecting the heart....The bloodwork also is important with regard to the anesthesia for dogs with MVD. The worse the grade of MVD, the more careful the vet needs to be with regard to both the anesthesia and bacteria from the teeth cleaning.

Rod Russell
Orlando, Florida USA


What is the bloodwork for, with respect to teeth cleaning--and anaesthesia too for that matter--what would they be looking at? Zack had bloodwork before neutering. It was optional but strongly recommended. i was surprised it wasn't routinely included and mandatory. i guess because it was expensive.

Karlin
30th October 2006, 02:17 AM
Number one thing to do is keeping weight down. Number two is always moderate exercise even for a cavalier with a heart problem unless it is in severe stages -- gradually building up if it is overweight and out of shape. Lots of people swear by supplements too (see the MVD post in the health Library).

I would never go into owning a dog or cat making any assumptions about what it will get, regardless of breed. I know dogs of all breeds and mixes that have had serious health problems. And plenty more that have few or none -- including cavaliers. My own vets say, while MVD obviously is not desireable they think it is in many ways preferable -- because its treatments are well known and relatively inexpensive for general cases -- to many other things other breeds get -- westies for example can suffer terribly from skin conditions that are very hard to treat as well and bring severe discomfort to the dog.

I have cavaliers all around my neighbourhood in their teens -- one at the top of my street that is 12, another a few streets away at 14, another at 11, a pair of 9 yr olds nearby, and I know someone whose BYB cavalier died at *19*.

It would be ideal for all breeders to work to rid this problem from the breed or reduce the incidence, which they could through careful breeding; but pick your breed and there are problems; mixes can end up with the worst of the breeds in their mix. You can make a scary list of health problems with every breed but the reality is that few things will ever actually happen to any given dog over its lifetime and even where there are serious issues, by focusing on good breeders you minimise those risks too.

I'd rather have whatever time I have had with all the animals I've owned over my life, than not to have had them at all, and enjoy that time always looking forward, not dwelling on things that may never happen or happen in such a way that it makes little compromise to that animal's life. In particular that is the attitude I have learned from having Leo, with his syringomyelia -- ironically I spent months worrying that Jaspar had it, took them to be MRId in Wales, and found Jaspar was a rare totally clear dog while Leo, with no outward problems, had SM.

Since then he has acquired some symptoms but it is obvious that most dogs never have any symptoms and those that do progress or don't progress in a highly variable way. He has a happy and active life, and is on pankillers that lessen his scratching and discomfort. If he worsens I will deal with that if and when... but why waste time worrying about what may never happen? Leo and I and the rest of the gang have pletny to do right now. :) The main thing is to read up, know as much as you can about possible problems, and know what to do if you think you spot them. I am well aware of my various options with Leo and know wonderful people with affected dogs, and vets and neurologists, who I can talk to and share ideas. It makes a big difference to know ahead of time about such things, whether MVD or SM or anything else -- and not be facing last minute decisions. Cancer, BTW, remains a bigger cause of death in cavaliers than MVD, if I recall correctly from the recent breed health surveys. Not scientifically done but the stats are nonetheless revealing for what comes up as issues. :thmbsup:

RodRussell
30th October 2006, 02:31 AM
What is the bloodwork for, with respect to teeth cleaning--and anaesthesia too for that matter--what would they be looking at? Zack had bloodwork before neutering. It was optional but strongly recommended. i was surprised it wasn't routinely included and mandatory. i guess because it was expensive.
Bloodwork often is recommended for Cavaliers with moderate to severe MVD because of the possible affect of anesthesia on the kidneys, and to a lesser extent on the liver, since MVD can impact these organs. This is particularly the case for dogs which also have been treated with MVD medications, such as ACE inhibitors, which often have damaging side effects on the kidneys and liver. These organs process anesthesia, and if they are not functioning properly, some anesthesias can cause further damage. The bloodwork is to check the condition of the kidneys and liver to be sure that they are healthy enough to tolerate the anesthesia.

The anesthesias often currently used, such as isoflurane, sevoflurane, and fluoarane, are relatively mild and should have no adverse affect on your dog, from an MVD standpoint. An IV catheter may be used so that if something does happpen while under the anesthesia, the doctor will have a direct line to the vein to give drugs to correct the situation rather than be delayed trying to place a catheter while the dog is already in distress.

Rod Russell
Orlando, Florida USA

AT
30th October 2006, 11:29 AM
I'd rather have whatever time I have had with all the animals I've owned over my life, than not to have had them at all, and enjoy that time always looking forward, not dwelling on things that may never happen or happen in such a way that it makes little compromise to that animal's life.

Last year I took an older cav in the final stages of heart failure, We only had her 9 weeks but she made a huge impression. She was one of the toughest dogs i've ever met , she never complained & enjoyed life to the last

She never refused a walk either , she couldnt go far but as soon as she saw the lead she'd be at the door doing her oof oof bark.

I do not regret having her for a second. She left a lot of great memories.

Ruth
30th October 2006, 05:11 PM
Cancer, BTW, remains a bigger cause of death in cavaliers than MVD, if I recall correctly from the recent breed health surveys. Not scientifically done but the stats are nonetheless revealing for what comes up as issues. :thmbsup:


Oooops, sorry but wrong ......... Cancer 12.3% - Cardiac 42.8%


Ruth.

Maxxs_Mummy
30th October 2006, 05:31 PM
Hi Ruth

Nice to see you posting again :flwr:

Lisa_T
30th October 2006, 06:46 PM
It's so easy to get bogged down with all the health issues with this breed, but I look at it this way: as a child I lost two much loved dogs to the road. Both were perfectly healthy young pedigree dogs. We owned them for a combined period of two- two and a half years. I have now had Holly for more than three. Treat every day as a gift and try not to worry about the future. Be sensible- keep the weight down, keep the dog physically and mentally fit and alert; crucially, watch the teeth and avoid gum disease.

My breeders said that they think MVD has higher incidence among pet owners because pet owners are more likely to be less educated and to allow their Cavs to get fat- some people even think the breed is *supposed* to be fat! While personally I think that's a slight exaggeration, I think there is something to it. Even if/when a thin Cav gets MVD, it would seem as others have said that it could be less severely affected (in terms of symptoms/quality of life) and live longer. Does anyone know whether the studies of heart disease in Cavs have also checked the impact of weight and fitness on the dog's longevity?

merlinsmum
30th October 2006, 06:51 PM
- some people even think the breed is *supposed* to be fat! While personally I think that's a slight exaggeration, I think there is something to it.

Slightly off topic - I met a woman in Pets at Home when Merlin was just about fully grown. She claimed to have had a Cavalier and told me that Merlin could not possibly be a true Cavalier as he wasn't big enough ( i.e. fat enough) Needless to say I told her in no uncertain terms what for! Ignorant :swear:

judy
30th October 2006, 08:12 PM
Slightly off topic - I met a woman in Pets at Home when Merlin was just about fully grown. She claimed to have had a Cavalier and told me that Merlin could not possibly be a true Cavalier as he wasn't big enough ( i.e. fat enough) Needless to say I told her in no uncertain terms what for! Ignorant :swear:

When i met my first cavalier a little over a year ago, my daughter's girl, Belle, Belle was about 4 months old, i fell in love with her, and along with those feelings I became extremely worried about her because i thought she was much too thin for a dog, and none of my previous dogs were ever overweight but if anything, muscular and trim, but Belle seemed almost scrawny, though still beautiful, and energetic, but not, according to Lisa and Joe, very interested in her food that they fed her, something the breeder had been feeding, a kibble, probably Iams or Eukanuba.

Belle loved our cat's food, wolfing it down, which Lisa and Joe said she never did before, and at that time, i didn't know dogs shouldn't eat cat food. We thought it was a good thing. I had gotten it at the health store, so they proceded to get Belle some dog kibble from the health store.

They visited for two days and i became so worried, i begged them to take belle to a vet to be checked, i was afraid she had cancer and i loved her so much, i couldn't bear to think of anything being wrong with her. So they did take her to the vet but they were told that she was just right.

Their breeder had given them feeding instructions that involved a very small amount of food three times a day. I now have learned that this was all correct, the breeder was right, Belle was perfect, but not knowing Cavaliers, at first sight, i was quite worried, and i am not one who likes to see a fat dog and do not overfeed any dog. Related to this, i'm reluctant to rely on food treats in training.

It's a good thing that Lisa's vet knew what a cavalier is supposed to look like, i hope that the owners who fatten their cavaliers are not being mislead by vets who are unfamiliar with cavaliers. When i first got Zack he was quite thin and of the several vets who saw him, all but one said he was fine but one said he was too thin, and since he had a gastrointestinal illness at the time, that worried me.

I think if, as you say, you're not educated about the importance of a cavalier being on the svelt side, it would be easy for an owner to innocently overfeed the dog. The line between ok and too fat is a fine one.

judy
30th October 2006, 08:14 PM
...Treat every day as a gift and try not to worry about the future. Be sensible- keep the weight down, keep the dog physically and mentally fit and alert; crucially, watch the teeth and avoid gum disease.

and in my opinion, avoid overvaccination, be informed about the problem and the advancing knowledge, and choose vaccinations accordingly.

judy
30th October 2006, 08:15 PM
......... Cancer 12.3% - Cardiac 42.8%


hi ruth--can you possibly tell me the source for that info? thanks

judy
30th October 2006, 08:32 PM
...Bloodwork often is recommended for Cavaliers with moderate to severe MVD because of the possible affect of anesthesia on the kidneys, and to a lesser extent on the liver, since MVD can impact these organs. This is particularly the case for dogs which also have been treated with MVD medications, such as ACE inhibitors, which often have damaging side effects on the kidneys and liver....

this is off topic, but this caught my attention because my friend's 12 year old daughter suddenly developed symptoms of nephrotic syndrome last February, and she was treated with prednisone and the ACE inhibitor Enalapril, i think it was 3ml a day but am not sure now. my friend and i email about this almost every day, he was uncomfortable with the medications, the toxicity, and he took her off lasix very early. She had some side effects from the prednisone but the NS was resistant to the steroid and she didn't go into a remission, so against medical advice, my friend very gradually over weeks or a couple of months weaned her off the prednisone. In the process of all of this we have been researching these meds, and we were not able to find much risk with the ACE inhibitor, on the contrary, we found studies that showed it to be safe taken long term, at least much safer than Prednisone, and also, rather effective in stopping proteinuria. So i was caught off guard reading what you said about ACE inhibitors being potentially harmful to the kidneys, and this is something we need to know about and look into. His daughter is doing very well, and the only medication she's on is Enalapril 1.5ml a day, but often they will skip days too. She's taking a homeopathic remedy and some supplements, and has been on a low allergen diet but she's been coming off the diet without any worsening in symptoms. Her proteinuria, tested daily, is often negative or trace, but occasionally goes to posiive trace or as far up as a +2, which is still considered very low. My friend is trying to get her off the Enalapril, but he adds it back in whenever her proteinuria stays up for a couple of days, which is about once a month. I have been telling him not to worry about the Enalapril, based on what i read, the safety of it and effectiveness, but obviously we need to look into it more.

Ruth
30th October 2006, 08:35 PM
......... Cancer 12.3% - Cardiac 42.8%


hi ruth--can you possibly tell me the source for that info? thanks


It's a Kennel Club/British Small Animal Veterinary Association Scientific Committee publication of Summary results of the Purebred Dog Health Survey for Cavalier King Charles Spaniels.

Whilst there wasn't a great response to this survey so figures should be interpreted with caution, I would disagree with cancer being the biggest cause of death in Cavaliers.

judy
30th October 2006, 10:10 PM
thanks ruth, i just looked it up on the net. wow. heart deaths are by far the most common reported cause of death in that survey. I am wanting to find out more about cavaliers who have had heart valve replacement surgery.