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Karen and Ruby
14th October 2009, 07:28 PM
And its not great news unfortunatly.
He does have Mitral valve Displasia. But is asymptomatic- no obvious signs he is ill.
Its such a shame for the poor little man- pushed from pillar to post and then ends up with this. we will obviously do EVERYTHING we can for him. I just feel for him at the momment, at such a young age to be plagued with such problems. I just hope he can have a good quality of life for how ever long he is with us for- if anyone is living with dogs with this I would interested to know how long they have been diagnosed for and what there quality of life is?
This is turning in to a bad year... just waiting to find out whether my mums tumor is cancerous now... I cant help but feel "what did I do to deserve this...?":(

Karen and Ruby- waiting for Charlie to come home xx

sins
14th October 2009, 09:46 PM
I'm really sorry to hear about the scan for Charlie.
It's the last thing you need at the moment but at least he's asymptomatic and you have him under veterinary supervision very quickly.
Hopefully you've managed to get Ruby's pain under control as well.
Take a quick look at CC forum and there's a very helpful post about Mitral valve displasia.
Sins

Pat
14th October 2009, 09:47 PM
Need a clarification - was he diagnosed with MVD (endocardiosis or acquired valvular disease - which is the heart disease common to our breed) or mitral valve dysplasia (which is a completely different problem - a congenital malformation of the mitral valve which is present at birth and not common in our breed)? These are two very different diseases and have different prognoses. Mitral valve dysplasia can be corrected by surgery at least in the US.

Did a cardiologist or specialist do the echocardiogram? And did he agree that his murmur grade is IV to V? What did he/she tell you about the stage of the disease - such as size of the cardiac chambers, amount of backward blood flow, condition of the valve, etc? All of these answers would give you an idea of what to expect. A high grade murmur as you described earlier would generally be associated with more advanced disease but not always.

I could (and have on various sites) post volumes about living with dogs with MVD (which is what I presume Charlie has rather than dysplasia). The rate of progression is quite variable from dog to dog. In the next 6-12 months you should get some idea of the rate of progression for Charlie if you do follow up tests. I presume you've done a baseline two-view chest x-ray which you can use for comparison in 6-12 months to monitor any heart enlargement. This is a less expensive and easier way to monitor so that you don't need to repeat echocardiogram as often.

Keep Charlie trim, feed a good quality food and enjoy him. (If you are inclined, you can learn about supplements, limited vaccinations and other things that may be helpful.) Best case scenario that I can tell you is one of my Cavaliers - Darby - who was diagnosed with a murmur at 18 months, started on enalapril (you Brits use Fortekor, another ACE-I instead) at almost 8, and was put down at over 15 yrs of age for other reasons than heart disease. He never went into heart failure. Worst case scenario would be more like a lifespan of 6-9 yrs, but those can be happy and comfortable years. Remember that he lives totally in the present and has no idea that there is a problem and enjoys every day to the fullest. I try to follow that wonderful example that dogs give us! I have also found that as I educated myself about the disease over the years, I became far more calm about living with a dog with the disease.
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Copied and pasted from Merck Vet online:

Congenital malformation of the mitral valve complex (mitral valve dysplasia) is a common congenital cardiac defect in cats. Canine breeds predisposed are Bull Terriers, German Shepherds, and Great Danes. Mitral valve dysplasia results in mitral insufficiency and systolic regurgitation of blood into the left atrium. Any component of the mitral valve complex (valve leaflets, chordae tendineae, papillary muscles) may be malformed, and often more than one component is defective.

Prognosis for animals with clinical signs and severe disease is poor. Mildly affected animals may remain free of clinical signs for several years.

Pat

*Pauline*
14th October 2009, 09:57 PM
I'm sorry Karen :hug: You do have a lot on your plate right now. I am not far away so if you need some time out, you are always welcome over to mine. I'm glad Charlie is yours, you have done your best to find out what is wrong.

Brian M
14th October 2009, 10:16 PM
Hi Karen

You sound so down with all these things happening one after another pls believe things will get better for you and your beloved Cavs who I am sure with the amount of superb care you lavish on them they will have many many more years ahead of them with you,and best wishes to your mum .Chin up girl and forward with a smile albeit a small one .
Best and Kindest Wishes

brian ,dawn and luke
with
Poppy ,daisy ,rosie and lily

Karen and Ruby
14th October 2009, 10:22 PM
[QUOTE=Pat;338561]Need a clarification - was he diagnosed with MVD (endocardiosis or acquired valvular disease - which is the heart disease common to our breed) or mitral valve dysplasia (which is a completely different problem - a congenital malformation of the mitral valve which is present at birth and not common in our breed)? These are two very different diseases and have different prognoses. Mitral valve dysplasia can be corrected by surgery at least in the US.

Did a cardiologist or specialist do the echocardiogram? And did he agree that his murmur grade is IV to V? What did he/she tell you about the stage of the disease - such as size of the cardiac chambers, amount of backward blood flow, condition of the valve, etc? All of these answers would give you an idea of what to expect. A high grade murmur as you described earlier would generally be associated with more advanced disease but not always.

He said displasia, The specialist wasnt there when I just picked Charlie up (at 8pm!) but we are going back to speak to him on Friday once the bile acid test results are in as well. We will then arrange what to do next- Charlie has actually lost weight since coming to us which is a worry as he is already thin (a bit too thin) so once the test results come back in we will know whether it is to do with that. He definatly shouldnt be loosing weight at all a he is on three small meals a day.
The had to give him a very mild sedation in the end which I expected as he was too wringly and fidgetty to get a good result. He had an xray and ecg which i will be able to see and be talked through on friday.
I was reading on the net about surgery and it was saying that its more easily done on larger dogs (above the 20pound mark).
I will wait until friday to see how i feel but at the momment im certainly not broken down- think i learnt the hard way moping over Ruby and her behaviour changed as a result- she got very anxious and nervous until I sorted myself out.
Thanks for all your words yet again!!

Karen, Ruby and Charlie xxx

Pat
14th October 2009, 10:42 PM
He said displasia, The specialist wasnt there when I just picked Charlie up (at 8pm!) but we are going back to speak to him on Friday once the bile acid test results are in as well. He had an xray and ecg which i will be able to see and be talked through on friday.
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There may well be a miscommunication if a regular vet or technician told you dysplasia rather than the specialist that did the scan. Person that you spoke with may well have used the wrong word. I know that I'm anal about using correct terminology - but it's really important so that you don't go down the wrong path as you read and research and as you communicate with other vets, etc.

You should receive a written report of the scan that will explain much, and I always save those reports. It should give you measurements of things like heart chamber sizes, heart contractility (how strong the heart pumps), velocity of regurgitant jet, exact description of the valve (deformed leaflets, prolapsed, condition of chords, etc.) and then you can compare those figures to future tests. I have a folder at home for each dog with copies of tests, and I even keep all chest x-rays at my home so that I can take them with me when I see various vets and I have them in the event of an emergency.

Excellent that you can talk it all over with the specialist!
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I was reading on the net about surgery and it was saying that its more easily done on larger dogs (above the 20pound mark).
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That's very true, and the good thing is that mitral valve dysplasia usually occurs in large breed dogs - Danes, Labradors, etc. You can google and read about a famous case - cyclist Lance Armstrong's labrador puppy had surgery at Colorado State Univ vet school. This is the best place in the US for veterinary cardiac surgery - Chris Orton is the US expert. Here's article about him visiting UK

http://veterinarynews.dvm360.com/dvm/Veterinary+news/CSU-cardiology-team-takes-open-heart-surgery-to-th/ArticleStandard/Article/detail/146678

Keep us posted,

Pat

Karen and Ruby
14th October 2009, 10:47 PM
Ah I do the same thing with Ruby- I have a huge folder crammed with all her veterinary records (which I was given when she was referred and copied them) Her xrays, MRI results and write ups etc etc
My family think Im mad but what happens if suddenly I have to see a different vet who has no clue about her?? Well im prepared for that!!!

Thanks again

Karen

team bella
15th October 2009, 12:01 AM
Karen, sending you love and positive thoughts. You're having a hard time at the moment but you will get through this. At least he's with you and you're the best person in the world to him. Also in my thoughts is your mother. Take care girl, you'll get through this.:hug:

Pat
17th October 2009, 01:40 AM
Karen,

Did you get to talk with the specialist today and clarify which heart problem Charlie has? I'm quite curious because mitral valve dysplasia is quite rare in our breed and significant mitral valve disease at 10 months is also not terribly common.


Pat

Karen and Ruby
19th October 2009, 06:13 PM
Yes sorry- broadbands been off all weekend= changed suppliers.
Its definatly Mitral Valve Dispasia but he said that at the momment its very mild displasia. Birth defect by all accounts.
He did say to me that although the problem is different from MVD as I know it the end result will probably be the same.
He did say that he isnt a candidate for surgery due to his small frame but there are a few places where it can be done but he needs to grow 1st (he is only 6.6kg at the momment)
At present he definatly isnt hindered at all as he is soooo energetic but Im doing a lot of reading on diet and controlled excersise and reading up on the problem aswell.

pat do you have any advice at all? Should I get a second opinion or is it normal that we will continue and have another check in 6 months?

Karen

jacies
19th October 2009, 11:47 PM
Karen I am so sorry that you are having so many problems with your dogs. I don't know if this helps at all but over 20 years ago I had a boxer puppy with a similar congenital problem. The local vet recommended it should be PTS but I contacted the Royal Veterinary College and they tried an experimental op, I think it was the first of its kind, and borrowed a balloon catheter from the neonatal unit at Guys Hospital and pushed it through the valve to open it. This is from memory, it was a long time ago.
I can only tell you that Frolic never knew she had anything wrong with her, she never grew as big as my other boxers but she used to run and play without any sign of a problem for 6 years. She was never ill until the day I came home to find she had passed away suddenly in my absence.
I am thinking of you and hoping for the best.
Judy

Pat
20th October 2009, 01:12 AM
Karen,

Thanks for your update. I think this is the first Cavalier puppy I've known to have mitral valve dysplasia. Good news that it is very mild. If the diagnostician is a cardiologist or internist I would feel comfortable that his diagnosis is correct and his follow-up recommendations are solid. He is right that prognosis/outcome would be similar to mitral valve disease, so we'll all hope that the progression will be slow since it's a mild case! Charlie could actually develop MVD over time and have both types of valve disease I suppose, but I wouldn't spend a lot of time worrying but just enjoy him and let him enjoy life as he obviously is doing!

I would think long and hard about doing surgery even if it were available to you. Lots to consider - size is one problem as your specialist said - much more difficult surgery in a small dog. For me, cost would be prohibitive as I think it is something like $8,000 to $10,000 here in the US. I'd probably give him the best life that I could remembering that he is happy and not worried at all as a human might be about his lifespan.

Judy - A common birth defect in boxers is aortic or pulmonic stenosis - this is where there is narrowing and/or blockage and the valve doesn't open properly. They do balloon valvuloplasty where they insert a catheter and pass a balloon thingy (technical term!) which expands and opens up the valve. This stenosis is the opposite problem of dysplasia where the valve leaflets are deformed and the valve leaks. The valvuloplasty surgery is much less invasive since they use the catheter - the valve replacement/repair surgery for leaking valves is open heart surgery with all that entails. Cost is much more too for open heart surgery procedures.

I love boxers but won't have one again because of boxer DCM which is rampant in the breed (along with cancer). This is a type of dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) complicated by arrhythmias (irregular heart rate); often the first symptom of this heart disease is when your boxer drops dead (no previous symptoms) - often in middle age - as you described with your boxer. If I had to choose between dilated cardiomyopathy and acquired valvular disease - I would absolutely pick acquired valvular disease!

Best wishes to you and Charlie,

Pat

emmag
26th October 2009, 01:59 AM
Hi Karen,
I'm fairly new to this website and also to owning a dog, let alone a cute little cavalier! But I was reading your story and wanted to let you know I may be going through a very similar time. It seems that my Izzie is going through it, like your Charlie, and she is also very young, just a year old last week in fact. She has been diagnosed with a luxating patella, grade 2 and also a heart murmor. We are going to see a cardiologist on Tuesday for a consult and possibly a scan.
All I can say is I am so upset and have spent most of the weekend crying! I can totally sympathise with you and Charlie as she is so young to be going through this. I really know how you feel, especially as they are still pups, they are so sweet and innocent. She looks up at me with her big eyes as if to say its okay I'm fine mum.. heart wrenching :(
(and my dad has been really sick this past year too!)
Hope you're doing okay, I'll keep you posted about Izzie ..
kind regards Emma

Karen and Ruby
27th October 2009, 11:20 PM
Oh thanks Emma.
Sorry to hear about Izzie. Its terrifying when you hear that they are sick. Dont panic too much about the murmor. Ive got a girl whos had a murmor for a couple of years and it hasnt progressed at all or worsened it that time either.
There are lots of things you can do for the patella- ruby goes swimming once a week as we decided against surgery due to her other issues and she is doing really well with it. I also give her joint supplements and do lots of steady walking.
She still enjoys Agility and Obedience and lives a really full life!

Dont feel too down xx

Tania
27th October 2009, 11:46 PM
Hi Karen,

I don't have any advice to offer. I just wanted to say I am sorry you have all of this to worry about. Molly and Dougall sends love and licks.:lotsaluv: