View Full Version : Bella is sick...can anyone confirm it's MVD and maybe give me realistic expectations?

Emma n Renco
7th February 2010, 11:33 AM
Hi everyone, I have not been on here for a while now and you may not remember me. I have 2 cavs, Harvey who is 3 and Bella who we took from an abusive owner 2.5 years ago. She was in a very bad way when we first got her but with lots of TLC, grooming and vet care she has been a wonderful addition to our family. We have never known how old she was as the owner hadn't a clue and had just overbred her. The vet estimated around 6-7 when we got her but said she could be younger. Anyway last week she couldn't breath properly and was straining for breath and was very rattly. We took her to the vets and they said she was so full of fluid that they couldn't hear her heart. She had water tablets for a few days and we took her back for tests. It's turned out to be her heart, a very leaky heart valve and so she just fills up with fluid... The vet said we could expect her to be gone within the year, as she now has pills to slow her heart rythm down to take the pressure off her a bit and gets a water tablet everyday to keep the fluid out of her body. Since then she has been back to her old self and we breathed a huge sigh of relief and accepted we wouldn't have her for very long and to just spoil her even more for this last year. However, this morning, she is again heaving for breath and her whole body is moving when she is breathing. My hubby (who's a cardionurse in a hospital) said that he didn't trust it and we will take her back to the vet tonight when he's home as it's the same thing that happened last time. What's upsetting me is:
* How can she gets worse again in a week? even when she is on medication?
* What can the vet possibly do now to help her if we take her in? So scared that this will be when we are told that she will need to go to sleep forever...
* Realistically what should we be prepared for?
* Is she in pain with this?
* Is there anything I can do to help her?

So sorry for the long post, I am 5 months pregnant with our first 'human' baby :-) and I am just not dealing with this whole situtation very well and cannot stop crying at the prospect of our beautiful fur baby possibly leaving us. I just need to be prepared for what might be said today and would be very grateful for any wisdom from people who have good knowledge of this disease in cavaliers.

Thank you for reading & I hope to hear from you soon.. Emma xx

lady and amber
7th February 2010, 11:43 AM
So sorry you are going through this, the vets may be able to up her medication to help her. :hug:
My Lady was the same she started to have problems, so she was on meds seemed to help for a few days then she went down hill very fast,

7th February 2010, 12:19 PM
Emma, you really must put yourself and the human baby first and try not to worry. Please.

I am not a vet and I have no personal knowledge of MVD being as symptomatic as this is, but from what I have read and heard from others who have experience of it, yes, it does sound as though the medication should be changed, as clearly it is not working as it should.

There is only one way to find out and that is by taking Bella back to the vet, who can check her out, maybe do some tests and then tell you what is going on. It could of course be that the condition has advanced quicker than your vet anticipated, or perhaps, as I already said, the medication is not the right one for this dog. Only your vet can determine this by using his skill, diagnostic tools and experience.

One thing I do know is that worrying is no good for you and of course Bella may well sense your anxiety and aggravate her condition by being stressed out because you are. So like I said, relax as much as you can and go see the vet.

Meanwhile, you are in my thoughts and prayers and I hope you will keep in touch with us here and let us know what the vet says.

Love my Cavaliers
7th February 2010, 04:28 PM
Emma, is there a cardiologist that you can take Bella to? I would think that a cardiologist would be better able to diagnose and manage her symptoms than a general vet. Or is there an emergency hospital with a cardiologist on staff that you could take her to this weekend? It sounds like she is in so much discomfort. Maybe a change in medication is needed or a combination of mediciations. It defintiely sounds like she needs to be seen by a specialist. A cardiologist would also be able to give you more realistic expectations of her prognosis. Then you can begin to plan more. I know it's hard to not be distressed. Just try not to think of the worst-case scenario until you have more definitive information. Rub your baby belly a lot and breathe. Please let us know what happens later today.

Margaret C
7th February 2010, 09:08 PM
Hello Emma,

Realistically it sounds as if your little girl has a very serious heart condition.

I have a Japanese Chin, Tyson, who is at the same stage. He was not expected to live until Christmas, but with a cocktail of frusemide, fortekor, vetmedin and prilactone he is still with me.

His stomach becomes enourmously bloated sometimes, then it goes down. He coughs when he gets excited, but he is still eager for his walk and his food, he does not know how ill he is, & so he is still Mr Personality Plus.

Sometimes I want to stop him getting excited and play fighting with the others, especially as it ends in a coughing bout, but I have decided he will live life to the full while he can.

I know it cannot go on forever, so I am so very glad I have had this extra time to appreciate him and spoil him a little.

You have given Bella love and care and a happy life for the last two years. I do so hope it will be possible for you to gain a little more time for her, so that you can come to terms with the shock of what is going to happen, and like me with Tyson, spend a little time telling her how very precious she is.

Take care of yourself, don't let this drag you down.

My very best wishes

7th February 2010, 10:25 PM
I am so sorry you are having to go through this and watch Bella gasping for breath. Having nursed many Cavaliers through heart disease I know how difficult it can be. Medication has come a long way over the last few years so maybe it is a question of your vet getting not only the type of medication right but also the dosage.
I so hope you get to spend more time with Bella, you are doing all you can for her.


8th February 2010, 12:02 AM
I also would see if there is a cardiologist that you can bring your girl to see. They are very good at managing the medicines.

I am so very sorry that Bella is so ill, give her extra hugs and ear scritches from me, and do take care of yourself too :hug:

8th February 2010, 06:49 PM
Hi Emma it must be so hard for you my heart feels for you we love our babies so much been throught same twice in my life not caverliers

Take Care x

Emma n Renco
8th February 2010, 08:00 PM
Hi everyone, thank you for all of your replies. Well we went to the vet and to him it was a cut and dried decision when he saw her that she was again filling up with fluid not because of any further heart function deterioration but because the tablet dosage wasn't quite right. He amended these and gave her an extra water pill and today she is back to her old self again. He said it's a case of trial and error and as we know her best we will be able to tell when she's struggling a bit andneeds more water tablets and also when she has been good for a while when to ease off them again. Us monitoring that and him taking care of the heart medication will keep her in good health for a while as originally hoped for.

So it's good news - there is life in the old lady yet so we get to smother her with love for a bit longer which is a blessing, especially when she isn't in such distress anymore. I know this is by no means the end, it's just so uplifting to see her back to her old self again and not having trouble breathing... she's a tough cookie and we have still got her in our family for another while yet which is great and definately eases the stress levels for now..

Thanks again anyone.. Emma xx

8th February 2010, 08:34 PM
Hi emma im so pleased for little bella bless her she's a strong little one. my boxer named emma had a enlarged heart she was 11 at the time. They told me she would pass any time but she went on human heart tablets and stayed with us until she was 13 very old for a boxer so they do suprize you.

Take care

8th February 2010, 09:25 PM
:)Very relieved to see your post tonight. So glad Bellas feeling a bit better now. Take care.

Karen and Ruby
8th February 2010, 10:46 PM
Oh this really made me smile when I read your update on Bella- so pleased that she is comfortable again and that you can enjoy her again xx

Best wishes:-)

Margaret C
9th February 2010, 12:27 AM
Great news. Give her a kiss from me.

Emma n Renco
11th March 2010, 05:17 PM
Hi everyone, I am back again with a Bella update. Unfortunately the tablets stopped helping Bella. Yesterday she was so out of breath and her tongue was blue. We took her to the vets and they gave her one last water injection to flush out the fluid from her body to make her more comfortable and told us very honestly that we needed to monitor her for 48 hours but that we had to make the decision for her. Last night she was in a terrible way and could't breath and was standing up to get breath and falling asleep standing up because she couldn't breathe down and falling over but then having to wake up again to breath. I spent the whole night with her and today she is just the same. She can lie down now but as soon as she moves she's gasping for breath.

I feel so desperately sad and beside myself because I know that tomorrow we are going to take her back to be put to sleep... Can't stop sobbing when I look at her and feel like we are going to be murdering her even though I know she has to go to sleep to give her some peace.

If anyone has any ideas to help me calm down and get through this last 24 hours please please let me know, just so so scared of losing her forever.

Thank you... Emma :'( xxxx

Kate H
11th March 2010, 05:39 PM
' just so so scared of losing her forever.'

Hi Emma

I don't think we ever do lose our precious Cavaliers. Each one of them changes us for the better as people - our capacity for loving increases and they give us so much pleasure; if you had not known Bella, you would not be the person you are now, so she will be part of you for ever, as will any future Cavalier to whom you pass on the love that Bella taught you. Our dogs can teach us so much, and you can return Bella's love by setting her free from her worn out body. Having had two Cavaliers with congestive heart failure, they tell you clearly when they need to go. And the tears I'm shedding now, and that you will shed, are the measure of the love between us and our Cavaliers.

Kate, Oliver and Aled

Claire L
11th March 2010, 06:09 PM
Emma, I'm so sorry you are going through this with Bella. I know how hard it is, I went through the same with my Rudee. I stayed up for three nights running and the vet did everything he possibly could for her. I , like you, cried and cried and said that I would not be able to take her to put her to sleep. She'd been with us for almost 13 years and I just couldn't bear the thought of being without her BUT when I looked into her eyes ,I knew that it was MY TURN to repay her for all that she had given to us through the years and she needed me to do this one thing for her. I scooped her up in her favourite duvet and I held her and sang to her as she went to sleep and even though I felt that my heart was going to physically burst from the pain, I am so glad that I was able to share that moment with her because it ties us together forever.

Please give Bella a kiss from me and know that you are not alone we are all here for you:hug:

Emma n Renco
11th March 2010, 07:16 PM
Thank you both for your beautiful and kind words, you are so right I have so much to thank our little princess for she really has been a god send to us and tomorrow we will set her free, she needs us to do that for her.
Thank you again ladies I really really feel touched by your words and will remember them tomorrow.. xxx

11th March 2010, 07:39 PM
Sadly I too have been through this {too many times :(} - it never gets any easier but is the last loving thing you can do for your precious companion.

We have to think about their quality of life - are they happy and comfortable?

Claire and Kate have written more eloquently than I can manage - I can only say that we are all thinking of you at this desparately sad time.

Try to rememnber the happy times - Bella would not want you to remember how she is now, I'm sure.

When we lost Rupert, he had been with us for 12 1/2 years, through several house moves and sadly the loss of a few of his Cavalier Companions - there had always been the three of us. I felt that I couldn't face life without him, even with the other Cavaliers here as a comfort.

However he was in pain and didn't want to eat {possibly his favourite thing in the world} and it wasn't fair to keep him going like that. It was a kindness to let him go with dignity. He was very peaceful, and although we were desparately sad at the time and still carry that sadness, we now remember the happy times and laugh at all the naughtly things he used to do!

You will be in our thoughts tomorrow - I know you will find the strength to go through with this - maybe you could ask your vet to come out to the house if that is easier for you?

Keep Bella's favourite treats to hand to keep her calm and give you something to concentrate upon - Rescue Remedy will help her too. I have always found that they "know" - they display an aura of peace which is their last gift to you.

Margaret C
11th March 2010, 10:00 PM
I fed Monty pieces of cooked liver when he was put to sleep. My last memory is of his little face looking up to see if there was any more.

We owe them release when life becomes too difficult. It is not murder, it is the last act of love we can give them.

You will be in my thoughts tomorrow.

11th March 2010, 10:57 PM
My heart is breaking for you.
I will be thinking of you tomorrow.

Cathy T
12th March 2010, 03:56 AM
My heart is just breaking for you right now. I think this is one of the things we Cavalier owners fear the most. You will be in my thoughts and prayers tomorrow.

Brian M
12th March 2010, 09:24 AM

My dearest thoughts and best wishes go to you all .

Kindest Regards

12th March 2010, 10:43 AM
Hello my thoughts are prayers are with you .

12th March 2010, 10:48 AM
I am so sorry :(
Thinking of you today, God bless :hug:

12th March 2010, 11:54 AM
my thoughts are with you today!

it is our responsibility to know when the time has come, and to act accordingly. and you are living up to yours!

god bless you.

Emma n Renco
12th March 2010, 04:00 PM
Hiya.. well she's gone now and to be honest it's a big relief to have seen her at peace finally after such a struggle and know that she is happier in doggy heaven eating lots of treats and never having to have her hair brushed anymore. Very very sad but know we made the right decision for her.. Thanks again for all your lovely words ... Emma & Renco xxxx

Claire L
12th March 2010, 07:01 PM
Emma, you've been on my mind all day. I'm so sorry for your loss :hug::hug:

12th March 2010, 07:15 PM
I am so very sorry for your loss. :hug:

At least Bella is at peace now, and I hope your wonderful memories of your time with her will help bring you comfort. She was a lucky girl to spend her final years in such a loving home.

Love my Cavaliers
12th March 2010, 09:29 PM
I'm so sorry. Run like the wind Bella!!

Cathy Moon
13th March 2010, 01:10 AM
I'm sorry for your loss of Bella. Run free at the bridge little one. :flwr:

13th March 2010, 05:35 PM
I am so sorry -- I remember when you first posted about getting Bella and telling us all about her. It is a difficult place for any of us, to have to make such hard decisions out of love. :flwr:

14th March 2010, 09:41 AM
Emma, I just could'nt say any earlier how much I was feeling for you, I had too big a lump in my throat, but you have bit the bullet now and Bella has no more suffering.


14th March 2010, 11:46 AM
My heart goes out to you. It must have been so very difficult, but she is now at peace.

Emma n Renco
14th March 2010, 09:16 PM
Thank you everyone.... I hope that this gets easier as I am feeling just totally heartbroken and missing Bella dreadfully so so hard to deal with knowing she isn't behind the door all of the time & Harvey (our other cav) is so low at the moment and is going to the toilet inside which he's never done before. Hopefully this hole in our family gets smaller soon, just miss our little cutie pie so much :'( xxx

14th March 2010, 10:13 PM
I remember your first post, I am so sorry and my heart goes out to you.

15th March 2010, 09:16 AM
I'm so sorry - it does get easier, this dreadful raw pain eases a bit but you will always carry a sadness that Bella is no longer with you.

I don't think you ever forget a special companion - nor would we want to - but over time you start remembering alll the happy times you spent together and can enjoy those memories.

You have so much to look forward to with your human baby - try to concentrate on that.

Also it will help Harvery to keep to your normal routine as much as possible - he needs lots of extra attention and cuddles, but regular walks will help then he will be tired. He will adjust, some Dr Bach Rescue Remedy from teh chemist would probably help both of you - 3 drops in his water bowl, or a couple in his mouth.

Emma n Renco
17th March 2010, 07:03 AM
Thank you Nicki,

Things are becoming less raw but then every so often we say the dogS or call both names and get that gut wrenching pang that we only have Harvey now. We have sorted out our photos of Bella and are going to get some beautiful canvases made of her and yesterday she was cremated so we should get her ashes. When we have them this weekend we will buy her a beautiful tree, plant it with her ashes and make a small flower garden around the base as a memorial to Bella. I think that will help a lot as it will feel that she's back with us again where she belongs.... :-)