View Full Version : Any Advice? Heart problems

6th April 2009, 10:26 PM
Hi, i joined in august and posted about how i realised my dog has syringomelia, because she does the 'extreme' mannerisms and howls when she is spinning round on the floor etc.

This time i am asking for advice on heart problems., This is quite lengthly but i want you to all understand Bonnies history.

Bonnie is 12 years and 10 months old. She suffers from undiagnosed Syringomelia, it was unheard of when i adopted her aged one at the time. She is very wobbly on her back legs and often falls over. she gets up, wagging her tail unaffected.

She has a severe heart murmer and a leaking heart valve. despite ALL this, sshe is a happy old lady.

However, today she was spluttering and coughing more then usual, literally every minute or so. she coughed up clear sticky gooey fluid three times. I took her to the vet who have persribed some meds for her, to help reduce the fluid.

Now, i do like the vet i used for Bonnie at all, i find they are very patronizing. But, she said if this doesnt work by thursday i should have her sedated to xray etc,and then drain the fluid.

I personally do not want to do this, but she said dogs could live in for 'years' after this. i said, Bonnie is 12, with syringomelia,she falls over alot, she is underweight, and has a severe heart murmer.

I looked up Mitral Valve Disease, and this appears to be what she has., the vet never mentioned this and im quite annoyed. i feel like shes almost forcing me to have Bonnie carry on, when in my heart i feel like i dont want to watch her suffer anymore.

She cant hold herself to wee anymore and i read its connected to the kidneys with the MVD?

can anyone offer any advice.

if she is spluttering alot, weeing in the house/cannot hold herself and is coughing up clear 'gooey fluid', is there any hope or should i let her go before she suffers any more?

Thanks for reading, i know im new, but please advise me, i love her dearly

6th April 2009, 10:55 PM
It's possible you have different problems going on here and I think a good start would be to have your girl into a cardiac specialist-there are some terrific medicines that can really help if it is MVD but you need the diagnosis and you need the specialist to check her. If she has SM there are medications that can help with symptoms. If you go to this site
you will see on the left side of the page many topics including MVD and SM
and you will see the Clinics that are available in the US-not sure where you're from :)
If you scroll down this page you will find the topic Health Library and it includes valuable information about MVD and SM.
It is hard to find a primary Vet who understands and is capable of working with and diagnosing these problems. Right now I'm searching to find a Vet more capable-not easy. :xfngr: for you and your girl.

6th April 2009, 11:09 PM
I forgot to include this which is happening now. I was recently involved with a 10 yr old retired breeder female( puppy mill) and she has moved on to foster care. She has been seen by a cardiologist and diagnosed with a grade 6 murmur. She is now on medication and the cardiologist feels that she will go to a grade 4 murmur with the meds. :) There is a great advantage in seeking a specialist when these problems exist.

6th April 2009, 11:09 PM
Why not switch vets to one you like?

Also: are you giving her some medication for the SM? If she is falling over this means she is in some significant degree of incapacity and probably, pain, either due to the SM or arthritis or something else. If you are pretty sure it is SM I would definitely find a vet who will work with you to use Dr Clare Rusbridge's treatment protocol (http://sm.cavaliertalk.com/treatment2008.pdf) to get Bonnie on a good pain relief regimen. You may find she is no longer wobbly at all if she is getting a proper level of pain relief. This most likely would include gabapentin which can work wonders and has few to no side effects for most dogs.

The other thing that would be good is that most likely with her heart, she will be put on frusemide which also usually helps at least to some degree with SM. If she is coughing though she is at a more advanced stage and you really do need to be working with a vet.

Your vet is correct that she could have quite some time comfortably before her -- years even -- if cared for properly with MVD. MVD is very well understood and the treatment options are well known. I would recommend reading this (http://board.cavaliertalk.com/showthread.php?t=9214) on heart care.

But please get her on something for the SM if she isn't on anything at the moment. IMHO this is very urgent regardless of whether you've had an MRI diagnosis -- if your vet won't work with you then find one familiar with SM who will. :thmbsup:

Incontinence is common in older dogs and could be related to the SM, her heart, or simply old age. There are also treatments for this that help enrmously.

But you need to be working with a vet you are happy with, whose judgement you can work with. And also you need to make a commitment to getting her the care she needs if you want her to have that extra, more comfortable time with you. This means reading up on her conditions (there's lots of info in the Health section of the Library here for example), working with a good vet and specialist on the MVD ideally, and getting her individual issues looked after. Your current vet clearly feels she is not in great distress and has quality time left -- I doubt any vet would ever encourage anyone to prolong a painful life -- so I'd trust your vet and work with her, or get a new vet that you trust and work with them.

7th April 2009, 03:09 AM
I am sorry you are having to deal with these difficult decisions.
I would say that I agree with getting her to a good vet who is knowledgeable. If she hasn't been diagnosed with SM, perhaps it is possible that she is wobbly in the back due to arthritis or hip problems?
If I were in your shoes, I'd want to look carefully at every problem and treatment since, according to you, she is a very happy old lady. If she feels like fighting on, perhaps that should be your cue to help her get the most help possible to keep up the good fight!

7th April 2009, 03:33 PM
the vets we use i do not like as i feel lile they suggest unnessacery things, in order to make money. now i do not have a problem with spending money on my dog, of course i dont, i love her.

But they suggest things that when i go somewhere further away (we are in a small village) they say its not nessacery.

I wish to take her somewhere else but shes been at this vets her whole life so i feel like if i take h er somewhere else they wont 'understand' as much? does anyone understand what i mean?

She is happy, but she also sleeps all day, and only wakes up in the evening. she is 4.2kg so small for the breed too.

i feel angry bcus she had this heart murmer her whole life and 3 years ago she started with the coughing and they wouldnt give her any medication saying it wasnt nessacery but i feel now that, she is weaker and throwing up clear while fluid that she seems to be at the 'end' of the disease, and i feel like this medication is now a lost cause as she should have had it earlier?

I feel so lost, i love her dearly ive had her since i was 8, im now 21, shes my everything

7th April 2009, 04:54 PM
If you really are unhappy with the advice this vet is giving you then it is important that you switch vets. We have switched vets recently and it is easy to do. Just register at a new vets and ask your old vet to fax the notes over. I also got a copy of my old vets notes for myself with no problems. It sounds like your dog needs to be seen by a heart specialist or at least started on some medication by your vet and definitely some analgesia for the SM. Your dogs life would be much happier if she is getting the right pain relief. Keep us updated and good luck

7th April 2009, 06:39 PM
Bonniesmum :flwr: Wonder if it would help you find a vet to care for Bonnie's problems if you could pm some of the forum's members that are also from Essex. A group is on this board-go here


7th April 2009, 07:19 PM
:flwr: i hope you can get some help for Bonnie soon. will be thinking about you both& looking out for updates. It's so frightening when theyre ill isnt it. Good luck