View Full Version : Cavalier gets no attention-I want to take her but worried about health?? HELP!

7th December 2008, 02:17 AM
I have a close friend that has a Cavalier that is 4 years old. She is wonderful and has been well cared for. I have taken her recently while my friends child has been sick. My friends husband is allergic and really she stays in the crate all day for the most part with them and me and my 4 year old daughter are home most of the time. She sits on the back of the sofa, sleeps with us, and has a fenced back yard. Pretty much she is spoiled with us:)
I want to take her completely but am concerned about several things. She sleeps a lot and is pretty laid back, she does pounce like a pup a lot of the time too. Some days when she eats or drinks and then 30 minutes to an hour later, vomits the food-water and it is not really digested. She coughs when excited to the point it scares me for her.
She has terrible breath and friend has taken her for teeth cleaning 4 times. I went today after reading some things and have switched her to BLUE food. I read it worked well for Cavaliers so I wanted to try it while I still had some of her old food, to slowly switch her. I cleaned her teeth myself last night and her gums bleed terrible. Is it typical for these dogs to have this at this young of an age. After reading some info I am afraid it may be MVD?? My friends husband is struggling like everyone financially right now and we just lost our business due to the economy. I do not know what to do. I financially can not afford extensive test, cardiologist, etc. but feel she is better off in our home. Any suggestions? From what I have read MVD is not treatable anyway??? Thanks to anyone with any input. I am in love with this dog:)

7th December 2008, 11:32 AM
Well, a good vet can tell you if she has a murmur at just a basic vet visit so I would at least get her in for a basic visit. if she has MVD she *needs* to be diagnosed so that she ca get proper medications. For most dogs, MVD is very treatable and the right meds can give a dog years and years of life. IMHO an owner has a moral obligation to give proper treatment for MVD which means a range of possible medications can be given at various points. It cannot be CURED but it definitely can be TREATED just as heart disease can be treated in humans -- indeed the ways to treat MVD are very well understood and established. There's lots of info on MVD in the Library section of the board. :thmbsup: But these questions should be asked directly to a good vet -- you need to know what you are looking at before you worry about whether there's any need for treatment. Health issues are not something that should be left to guesswork or assumptions, either -- owners need to get professional advice from a vet. :thmsbup:

If the dog is on soft food I would move her to hard dry food to help those teeth and gums. Also I'd start getting her some good chews -- flat rawhide sheets (taken away when they get chewed down), raw marrow bones, bully sticks, Greenies and other dental chews all will help her gums and teeth. So will daily brushing (have your vet show you how) and there are oral gels that help dissolve tartar.

If you do not have the cash to help this dog if she needs help, however, and the owners cannot keep her, please, please have them contact their local breed rescue who will help to place her. A dog needs owners who can make the financial commitment, and given that there are some problems you already know about, you are going to need to put at least some money towards her care. Maybe an initial vet visit can give you sense of whether this is something you can manage financially?

If she is only coughing after eating I doubt this is MVD (if a dog is coughing from MVD it is in advanced stages. And yes, sadly due to careless breeding by people who never heart test, cavaliers can have advanced MVD, an elderly dog's disease, at only 4 -- or even younger :( ). Half of cavaliers have MVD by age 5.

I think maybe she is eating too fast and therefore bringing food back up. Feeding her her dry food in a treat cube so that she has to work to get the food and can only get a piece at a time would likely help. Or you can buy a special bowl that forces them to eat more slowly.

It sounds like you have given her a very good home :) but also now have a few things to seriously think about before making a commitment to keep her. I'd suggest starting with a visit to a good vet for an assessment. Then go from there.

If needed, I have a list of all breed rescue contacts pinned at the top of the breed rescue forum.

7th December 2008, 11:45 AM
I will look into it and see if I can care for her, I sure hope so, I love her to death and would love to keep her. She is the sweetest dog I have ever had. After reading about them we will for sure look for a great breeder in NC and look into the health history in the future to add one to our family. Thanks so much for caring!

7th December 2008, 05:38 PM
Why don't you take her to the vet, have them listen to her heart and tell them about the coughing/vomiting, and see what they say and then let us know. :) There are plenty of people here with experience of MVD. I do doubt this is MVD though.

BTW is it a coughing or more a sneezing snorting? I think you may just be seeing 'the cavalier snort' -- this is due to their shortened nose and soft palate. Next time, try gently tilting her head forward while holding your thumb or a finger across her nose. Usually this will stop it right away. It is generally harmless -- only rarely is there an actual problem. All my cavaliers do the snort sometimes and they tend to do it when excited.

7th December 2008, 08:44 PM
Quote: "I cleaned her teeth myself last night and her gums bleed terrible."

Dear God -- if you are scaling her teeth yourself and giving NO antibiotics, you are setting her up for endocarditis. This is an infection of the heart valves caused by systemic bacterial infection that travels through the circulatory system and settles on the valves. It is usually fatal if not diagnosed quickly and treated aggressively. A common cause of endocarditis is infection from periodontal disease. This is why dogs should receive a course of antibiotics for routine dentals; the more plaque and periodontal disease (and the more bleeding of the gums), the greater the risk.

This is different from endocardiosis - which is the "typical" Cavalier heart disease (often referred to as MVD) which is a degenerative disease of the heart valves (which is hereditary in Cavaliers). As Karlin said, that disease is highly treatable, particularly if a cardiologist or internist supervises diagnosis and treatment planning. Unfortunately, there is cost associated with the treatment - not so much for the meds which are generally not expensive but for the testing (echocardiograms, blood chemistry, chest x-rays - which will continue at various intervals for the lifespan of the dog). I agree with all that Karlin wrote. And, by the way, what you describe sounds unrelated to MVD.

STOP DOING HOME DENTAL SCALING without giving antibiotics. It's not effective anyway as it doesn't go under the gumline which is the most important area. I am personally a fanatic about dental health for my Cavaliers as I believe there is a strong relation between dental health and overall health, particularly for the seniors. Fortunately, my vet charge for dentals is quite reasonable. Frankly, if you did this last night, I'd take her to the vet tomorrow and see about getting some prophalactic antibiotics to follow up. Can you see the vet who has treated her all this time and who did the previous dentals? He/she should have history on the Cavalier. Four dentals on a four year old Cavalier is pretty unusual, although I've known many Cavaliers who needed pretty frequent dentals through their middle and later years.

Atlanta, GA

8th December 2008, 11:49 AM
Thank you so much for your replies, I never knew that about cleaning teeth at home and feel a little guilty that I did it, however I was not being rough or anything. However the ower has been cleaning her teeth a lot!! I am calling today to look into taking her to the vet. She for sure has the Cavalier snort so I feel much better about that, I am glad you told me that was common. She does do it more so when excited. However I am still worried about this vomiting with water and the food is whole when she vomits, not even digested. I did buy her BLUE food which is holistic and supposed to be really good food, it was quite costly but I wanted something easier for her to digest. Thanks so much for your comments, and help. Are there any good "informative: books on Cavaliers and the breed health, etc? Most of them I have seen were the typical 20 pages about the dog breed and the rest just common dog stuff that they put into each book. I will let you know what the vet says:)

9th December 2008, 12:52 AM
Caroline Coile's book is very good. There's tons of information here for free in the Library section as well.

Brushing teeth at home is fine, it is just scaling etc that shouldn't be done (I hadn't realised either how risky this can be so thanks for the post, Pat).

On the vomiting -- really, this is probably not a big deal. Some dogs and cats just do this. It is probably because she is eating and drinking too fast. As I said, try feeding her from a treat ball -- she will have to roll it around to get kibbles out one by one. Or pack her food into a kong, held in by a bit of mashed banana. That too she will have to eat more slowly. Or get her one of the slow eating bowls. Ad/ or fed her in several very small meals -- say three or four a day -- not one or two large ones. The food may not agree with her as well but I think she's just eating so fast that she brings everything back up again.

But really she needs a basic vet check-up. The way to avoid care becoming expensive is by giving ongoing vet care so any problems are caught early. Have your vet show you how to brush her teeth too.

9th December 2008, 01:39 AM
I find that the bringing food back up can also be caused by drinking immediately after eating - especially if the dog is the 'food inhaler' type. You may find that rationing water just after eating will help, but the treat balls are great - good exercise and brain stimulation too. Quite noisy though as they bang against stuff!

9th December 2008, 02:31 AM
You could try what I do with my malamute who eats WAY too fast. I put 3 large, smooth stones in her food bowl (way too big for her to choke on) after I put the kibble in. They are heavy stones and she has to eat around them and nudge them around to get all the food. She used to eat her 2 cups in about 20 seconds (or less!) and now it takes her about 2 or 3 minutes. Still fast, but considerably better. My collie is the slowest eater. He takes about 15 minutes to nibble his down.
Good luck with everything.

9th December 2008, 02:39 AM
Brushing teeth at home is fine, it is just scaling etc that shouldn't be done (I hadn't realised either how risky this can be so thanks for the post, Pat).

I, too was shocked to recently learn this. My breeder had recently lost a dog to endocarditis when we were getting Bandit this summer. She was telling us about how important it is to keep cavs teeth clean, and she shared how this had happened to one of her dogs recently just a couple days after a dental. Apparently it was quick and by the time it was diagnosed, the damage was too great.

Love my Cavaliers
9th December 2008, 02:48 AM
There is a dog bowl with three fat peg-like obstructions which is designed to slow a fast eater down. I bought them for my two males who used to inhale their food - complete with bringing it back up. This bowl has solved the problem because it really does slow them way down. Worth a look. https://www.brake-fast.net/store/home.php

9th December 2008, 03:03 AM
This may be a ignorant question, but what is dental scaling? I brush Dixie's teeth but now I am worried about "scaling".

Cathy Moon
9th December 2008, 12:08 PM
This may be a ignorant question, but what is dental scaling? I brush Dixie's teeth but now I am worried about "scaling".
It's like when you go to the dentist or dental hygienist to get your teeth cleaned. The 'scalers' are metal instruments used by the professional to scrape the calculus (some people call it tartar) off the teeth; the process is called 'scaling'. When a dog goes to the vet for a dental cleaning, it is very much like a human dental appointment, but the dog is put under anesthesia.

Brian M
9th December 2008, 12:51 PM
Hi Cathy
I know this question is dependent on how we look after their teeth and what food they eat ,but at what age would they generally need a descale.My three are all under 2 1/2 and of the numerous times they have all been to the vets their mouth hygiene has not really been mentioned .I am rather nervous like us all about general anesthetic be it for human or animal and I try my best to look after their teeth but if tartar penetrates under their gums it seems a Fate accompli.Nightly routine as follows.
Food -mainly biscuits and veg
allow them water ,then take up for a couple hours
clean teeth with dog toothpaste
clean again with Logic Gel
clean again with Petzlife Gel
Spray in mouth with Petzlife spray
all of course times three Cavs.:p