View Full Version : Our boy is back from his vet appointment

30th May 2009, 04:22 AM
We took our little boy, Sam, the the vet for his first vet visit today. I was expecting some good news, hoped I was overreacting on the severity of his murmur.

Well the vet said he does infact have a murmur (she rated it at a 4). She said he was probably more of 1 and a 1/2 years old, not 10 months like we were told.

So we started discussing options, she referred us to Purdue to get more testing done so they can decide what type of treatment/medications he'd require.

Than she decided to check his hips, and found some more problems. She said he has quite a severe case of Patellar Luxation and said he will require surgery for that but for right now we are going to start him on 250 mg of glucosamine.

He also have an ear infection, quite a bit of tarter too. Everyone was so in love with him at the vets office he was quite the little star. He got wormed, and also got shots.

So we walked out of the vets office with worse news than we had thought we would and I nearly burst into tears when I was paying and out of the next room bounded two happy and perfectly healthy cavaliers. I just kept thinking why my little boy, he didn't do anything to deserve this.

On a good note though we went to return his food (Chicken Soup For the Puppy Lovers Soul) because he wouldn't touch it, and the vet said he obviously ISN'T a puppy so can go to adult food. We are trying Eagle Pack Holistic Select small and tiny breed adult formula and he LOVES it! He devoured 1/4 cup and than probably half of another 1/4 cup and was still begging for more. So I think he has found his food. Now I just hope his tummy starts adjusting to it.

So me and my husband have a lot of discussion to do on how we are going to work with his problems but the vet said his hip is horrible, which I guess noone has told Sam yet that his hip is bad. I wasn't expecting his murmur to be that bad either I was hoping maybe I was just overreacting. Our main concern for this little boy is keeping him as happy, healthy, and pain free for as long as we can.

30th May 2009, 04:41 AM
:xfngr: that everything works out.

30th May 2009, 05:25 AM
Aww poor little man :( I hope you can sort out some treatment that will make him more comfortable!

Daisy's Mom
30th May 2009, 02:21 PM
I'm so sorry to hear about all his issues. That must be scary and heartbreaking. Where'd you get the little guy? Was he a rescue? (I'm sorry if you already posted that info and I missed it.) That's really sad to see a Grade 4 murmur on such a young dog. You're right -- it really isn't fair at all. Not to him and not to you. Maybe the cardiologists at Purdue will have more optimistic news for you, or at least make you feel like there is something you can do for him.

Is it is hips that are the trouble or his patellas? Patellas are kneecaps, not part of hips. Lots of Cavs have luxating patellas and have surgery which corrects the problem.

Brian M
30th May 2009, 02:46 PM
Hi samamum

Sorry you had those sort of reasults ,but keep on and believe things will get better the way now is up .:)

30th May 2009, 03:25 PM
Gosh that was a lot to swallow for you. I agreee that if it is patellas the surgery usually will fix it. Hips, on the other hand I think are a problem that is more difficult, though I am not sure how that is handled. At least he has found his way into a home where his needs will be addressed and he will be loved and cared for. I will be thinking about you all.

30th May 2009, 05:23 PM
Ok it is his knee cap that is bad. I was out chasing the kids and that is what my husband told me (it was his hip) but I called today and spoke to the vet.

The problem with surgery is she really does not suggest putting him under for a neuter, let alone a surgery for his knee cap. She just don't think it's a good idea. She said for his age, or guesstimated age, that is the worse case of the kneecap problem she has seen, and she said his heart she said she would guesstimate at a 4 but she's not an expert but she said the murmur was very severe. She gave us a lot of info on heart disease she told us what to look for and to bring him back immediately if he shows any symptoms and we'll start on heart meds. She said our best bet is to take him to Purdue, pay the $600 and have them look more closely at his heart to tell us exactly what are options are and what medicines would help him best.

My husband is definetely on board with taking him to Purdue but he is not quite sure on the surgery. He said he wants to try the glucosmine and see if that helps him (again obviously Sam does not have a problem with his kneecap right now as we having quite a time getting him to stop jumping on the bed and couch). He is just worried about spending $900 on the surgery and than losing him shortly thereafter for his heart. I think we really have to wait until he goes to Purdue to judge what we will do for the surgery for his knee.

The vet though didn't give us a really good prognosis she basically told me that the thing we have to do is keep him as painfree as possible. I asked what she thought on a life expectancy (and I know they are not god but wanted her opinion) and she really wouldn't say but just gave me the impression it wouldn't be a full life.

We bought Sam from a breeder who had him basically on clearance for $150 because of his slight murmur. I know she wasn't the best person to buy from but I knew before even meeting him that he would have problems and I was determined to do whatever I could before even meeting him. I figured it'd be a good idea for him to go to someone willing to do whatever it takes than someone who really wouldn't spend the time of day getting him help. The kneecap thing took us all by surprise though we knew there was a murmur though so that was no news to us we just never imagined it'd be that bad :( .

I know it wouldn't do any good but I did call the breeder and did give her a chance to explain why she hid details. She still claims he's 10 months old and not what the vet claims he is and she also swore up and down she didn't know he had a bad kneecap either. She offered to take him back (no refund ofcourse) or give me $150 off another cavalier puppy if she ever has another litter (like I would ever buy another dog from such a horrid woman). She was apologetic for the problems but I could tell she was just humoring me. I wanted to scream at her so bad but I didn't just wanted to let her know she had an unsatisfied customer with me and my family even though we LOVE Sam with all our hearts.

30th May 2009, 06:05 PM
Oh Samsmom you are his angel...He is so blessed that you came into his life, and that you love him despite his problems. Should all cavaliers be so lucky. Bless you and your husband. Judy

2nd June 2009, 03:58 PM
Samsmom -

My Arthur was diagnosed with a murmur at age 1 and 1/2 and while it is not a grade 4 it has not progressed and he is now 3 years old. We are lucky enough to have found a cardiologist here in Birmingham and we go in every 9 months for an full sonogram that costs us about $300. He is on beta-blockers (2ce a day) at about $50 every 3 months. I just wanted to give you the run down on our experience so that you can compare yours to something. Unfortunately, it seems that Sam is a little further along with his heart disease than my Arthur but I hope that once you get to a cardiologist you will get some good information about your future with him. When I left our vet that day I cried and cried - it was a Saturday. On Monday I made him an appt with the cardio. and got him in on Wednesday. Wednesday afternoon I felt empowered with the correct information and knowledge I needed to give my little man the best life I could whether it be 1 more year or 10. I know it is hard, but we are all here for you. Get your precious boy to an experieced cardiologist and try not to overreact (ya right :) ) until you are armed with the correct information.

Keep us posted and feel free to pm.

team bella
2nd June 2009, 07:32 PM
Poor you having to take in all that info. Take your time and think it through. You've still got a lovely little dog.

2nd June 2009, 11:24 PM
Wow, sorry you got such a bad report back. :( I did kind of suspect he was probably a lot older than the breeder said -- I think she probably realised she shouldn't breed him -- and decided to see if she could sell him to someone who might not check his health as thoroughly as you did. If he has a lot of tartar on his teeth I'd wonder whether he isn't older than 12-18 months -- most dogs still have really clean teeth at that age and wouldn't start to get significant tartar build-up til a bit older. Once dogs get to about 12 months it is hard to guess their age by anything except the state of their teeth and general appearance. Her vet would definitely know his age as they'd have records of checking his heart -- if she won;t let you talk to the vet, then I would guess he is a lot older than she said and she is just lying and trying to hide his age. It is harder to sell a dog older than 1.

Some others might have a better idea for costs for a cardiologist but $600 for a visit sure sounds like a lot for a basic visit. Maybe that is standard though or maybe it is more to visit a vet school hospital. Or maybe she is predicting what costs will be including the tests that will likely need to be done, like an ECG. I still wouldn't waste a lot of time worrying about his heart til you talk to a specialist. Vets are generally so-so at grading murmurs.

With his patella -- did she give you a grade on that? (generally 1-5 or 6). Most vets feel anything above a 2 needs surgery; glucosamine probably won't help much if the knee is over a 1 and if he is the age he is (usually if they correct they do so by age 1 or so when they finish growing; that seems to be the point at which vets will recommend surgery). If Sam is facing a limited lifespan I probably wouldn't do surgery. If knees are really bad they sometimes just lock in place and the dog will have a limp but not be too bothered -- I have had a rescue dog like this (and she wasn't a surgery candidate as the knee was now locked). It really would depend on the overall picture and how much pain the dog is likely to be in. How experienced is the vet with patellas? I'd think $900 is on the high side for surgery on a single knee. You generally do want the best person you can get to do the surgery though if it is needed.

I'd recommend doing obedience with him to start to give him some self control and better manage him so he isn't jumping up a lot -- you can train him that he needs to ask for permission to come up on furniture and you can then carefully lift him.

Both these problems are hereditary and the breeder should not be breeding Sam's parents or related dogs. This type of uninformed breeder is one reason why the breed has some serious health issues -- she is spreading those genes far and wide and no doubt some who buy her pups will breed those and so these issues spread and spread. It is just so frustrating, for those who care for the breed and for the owners like you who end up saddled with the problems produced by such breeders' indifferent, harmful breeding practice.

There's info on both hearts and patellas in the Health Library section.

3rd June 2009, 12:15 AM
Thank you so much for your kind words and responses!

We are getting him into the cardiologist, it's at a vet school. The whole visit, including testing will run about $600 the vet said. We have a credit account set up now so we can take him in to get his heart looked at. The regular vet said they can do x-rays of the chest but he really should go to the cardiologist for a complete workup.

As for the Patella she did not give me a grade just said it was fairly bad, worse she's seen in a dog that was still fairly young. The food we feed now has glucosamine in it so we need to find out how much to try. We are going to do the glucosmine, even if it does just waste money, just to give me peace of mind that I am doing everything I can for him. She said the qoute for that surgery may be a little off but that would include everything. We just didn't know if we wanted to put him through that or not especially not knowing what the future holds witRh his heart. That's a lot of money to spend and than have him pass away 6-12 months later.

Right now I am working with obedience, as he has obviously not even been taught basic commands, we are working on sit and down. He is picking them up but very slowly he's still eager to jump around. Right now he has absolutely no self control which can get him into trouble (jumping on the kids, stealing food, chasing the cats) We always practice NILIF so he's also being accustomed to that way of life as well. We're also dealing with having to teach him his name as he didn't have one when we got him so he's not used to responding to his name yet either.

I knew taking him in that he'd have some problems so it was no shock but to have my vet basically beat around the bush and tell us he may be looking at a drastically short life span was hard to take him when right now he is a happy bouncy little guy.

I think despite everything he is doing well, he's eating his food MUCH better (if only I can get him to stop having diarrhea now). He is much more bonded to me he is a very good watchdog, he barks when anyone comes to the door or even when my husband is coming home. Makes me feel good having him here to let me know someone's here. I just love the little guy so much.

I appreciate everyone's support with our little boy it makes me feel better knowing other people understand and know what I am going through.