View Full Version : So worried about Harry :(

1st December 2010, 03:34 PM
Little Harry is 9 and has MVD. He has been on vetmedin, fortekor and frusemide happily for 2 years.

Over the weekend his demeanour has suddenly changed. He is very tired and struggling to keep one eye inparticular open. He is sitting staring at Walls rather than lying down. His abdomen is very bloated and when he goes to shake himself it's like he can't do it.

He has not been too much off his food and hasn't been coughing. I took him to the vet who thinks it's arthritis and has given him painkillers but I haven't seen any improvement. He also yelps a lot if you try to pick him up.

I'm very scared and he's looking at me for help but I don't know what to do??

1st December 2010, 04:34 PM
So sorry about Harry, this does sound rather scary.

It might be arthritis - the cold weather is exacerbating that for many dogs - how long has he been on the pain relief? It takes quite a few days to get into their system.

I rather suspect it's more to do with the heart though - is he under a cardiologist? If not, I would telephone the vet and ask for an urgent referral, they are much better at managing heart conditions [would you want your GP to manage a heart problem of your own? Vets are really the equivalent of a GP]

Bloated belly is fluid - usually they would up the diuretics [Frusemide] or suggest that they perform a procedure to drain it.

There is an old fashioned drug which is excellent for belly fluid - Spironolacatone.

PLEASE GET BACK ON TO YOUR VET STRAIGHT AWAY - Harry does sound very uncomfortable. :(


A few things that have helped ours with Arthritis:

Try to keep the back dry if possible - hard with a Cavalier but maybe try a raincoat for wet days? Getting wet really doesn't help it - alternatively make sure they are thoroughly dried off as soon as you get home.

Magnetic therapy collars - Bioflow seem to be about the most effective [the cheaper ones just are not as powerful - magnotherapy is proven to increase the blood flow and helps with healing and removal of toxins]. If you are insured, you might be able to obtain it from your vet and can then try to claim it on your insurance - it worked for me!! [I didn't ask, my vet just put it on and they paid it!!]

Glucosamine - best given in conjunction with Chondroitin, these are pretty good http://www.vetvits.co.uk/dog-supplements/flexi-joints-tablets-for-dogs/productde... (http://www.vetvits.co.uk/dog-supplements/flexi-joints-tablets-for-dogs/productdetail-p15875-c1786997.aspx)

The vet may have mentioned Cartrophen injections? I found these very helpful for my old boy, it only needs to be repeated once or a twice a year and is not expensive. Worth a try.

Anything to avoid being on Metacam long term!!!

If you do have to give that, then might be worth obtaining a prescription from your vet [they are entitled to charge] with some repeats on it, and getting it from a reputable online pharmacy such as www.vetuk.co.uk (http://www.vetuk.co.uk/)

1st December 2010, 05:37 PM
Poor little Harry it must be very upsetting for you to see him so unwell. I can't offer better advice than Nicki has already given. My Molly has arthritis, she is on Glucosamine and also has Cartrophen Injections once a year. She is coping quite well.
Please let us know how you get on with the vet, it does sound as though he needs to see a cardiologist as soon as possible. Where abouts in the country are you.?
Gentle Hugs to Harry :hug:

1st December 2010, 05:56 PM
Awww poor Harry, i would definitely go to the Vets... Hope he gets better soon :xfngr: :hug:

2nd December 2010, 01:44 AM
What you describe sounds like ascites from right sided heart failure - as Nicki said. This would be considered an emergency. There are two other types of diuretics that can be added to furosemide - spironolactone and hydrochlorthiazide. An abdominocentesis can also be done - tapping the abdomen to remove fluid. This gives immediate relief.

I absolutely agree with Nicki about the benefits of diagnosis and treatment planning by a cardiologist - I am certain that a specialist can assure that our Cavaliers live much longer with a much better quality of life.


2nd December 2010, 09:18 AM
Thanks Pat, I was hoping you would see this - you have far more extensive experience and knowledge than I and I'm always very grateful to you for your posts :thmbsup:

How is Harry this morning?

7th December 2010, 11:36 AM
Hi everyone sorry for the late reply Ive been having a lot of problems logging in and staying logged in!

Thanyou so much everyone for the replies and concern for Harry. I made a second appointment with the owner of the surgery who gave him a more thorough check over (Harry was not happy about this! The vet said "I dont think ive ever heard a dog swear before") he decided to take Harry off the Metacam, which I was glad of when I read the leaflet that came with it saying "Do not use with Dogs with impaired cardiac or renal function."

Harry is now on spironolactone aswell as the vetmedin, frusemide and fortekor :( He is still bloated but not as much I dont think, but obviously he is needing to tinkle a LOT which must be frustrating for him. He will climb the stairs and into my room at 4am every morning to tell me he needs the toilet and then again at about 7am.

His mood has improved and he hasnt yelped out since being on the new tablets. I now think there is something wrong with his left eye. Sometimes I notice he has difficulty keeping this one open in particular, but I had put that down to being tired. It seems that this eye weeps when he is asleep as it seems like it has dried on his fur when he wakes. I am taking him to the same vet again for a check up in the week so I will see what he thinks of this.

7th December 2010, 12:07 PM
Thank you so much for posting, we were rather concerned :(

SO pleased that he is doing a bit better - that is a problem with diuretics that they need out a lot - is there anyway he could sleep upstairs [in the hall or something?] It might be hard for him to keep going up and down - and sometimes they don't always make it as they need to go out urgently.

I really don't think it is his back that is causing the issues - just see how he goes.

Yes Metacam does say not to use with cardiac issues - but you will find this, sometimes you have to make the decision to take the risk to keep them comfortable. It's a balancing act.

It does sound like the eye is not quite right - try flushing it each day. I can't find my instructions on here and haven't time right now to write it out so please look at page 34 on http://cavaliermatters.org/

it might be dry eye, but there are quite a few other possibilities that the vet needs to investigate.

7th December 2010, 04:34 PM
Thank you so much for letting us know what is happening. I have been thinking about Harry often and wondered how he was getting on.

This is part of the post Nicki is referring to. Date 9th May under a thread started by Brian "General Cleanup"

Hope this helps.

Eyes - when I saw the ophthalmologist a few years ago, he made my jaw drop! he asked me if I washed their eyes - oh yes I said, with a little sterile water and very gently...

Oh no he says, the eyes are one of the least sterile parts of the body. He soaked a paper towel with warm water and opened Jack's eye with one hand, and flooded it with water. That washes the eye out!!

As their eye lids don't always close properly, they are very prone to gathering dust and dirt on the surface. He recommended washing them twice a day, just with warm water from the tap.

I fill a jug with warm water and sometimes 1ml of witch hazel which is soothing. I use a baby sponge rather than paper towel, {afterwards I pour boiling water over it to clean it.}

I then dry them off with a towel which they love.

7th December 2010, 04:52 PM
Thanks for finding that Tania :thmbsup:

7th December 2010, 05:17 PM
Thankyou for the helpful advice I will try bathing his eyes.

He has had spells like this but only have lasted a couple of days and everytime I'm devastated and trying to prepare myself but he seems to always bounce back. He is off his food today and have to force feed him his tablets, he only seems to want malted milk biscuits! He is also in and out constantly needing the toilet. I expected this from the increased diuretics but this just seems so outrageous and annoying for him.

I'm struggling to cope with the situation I'm 19 and although he's only 9 and not been around for my whole life it feels like he has. He's absolutely my best friend and I'm terrified of being without him :( :( :( :(

7th December 2010, 06:53 PM
Oh bless you I didn't realise you were young - it must be so hard as he is more like a sibling to you, that's a long time and you have grown up together :(

Malted milk biscuits - I think in this situation just give him anything he wants - try scrambled egg, beef mince [buy frozen] etc - even ice cream!

How many times a day is he peeing? It might just be that the belly fluid is emptying and once that has happened it will settle down.

I'm terrified of being without him
I do empathise with what you are saying - I've been there too many times in recent years. :(:(

I don't think you can ever prepare yourself - maybe make a list of things that are important to Harry and his quality of life - maybe being able to go for a walk, enjoying a cuddle, eating things he likes...

This thread may also help you

When is it time to say goodbye? A guide to the hardest decision


Just make the most of every day, time together now will be extra precious and use the time to create special memories. Maybe try to take some nice photos? Sometimes it's nice to have a photo of the two of you together?

When the time does come, most vets will actually come to the house rather than you going to the practice - nicer for you and your dog.

If you have any other animals, allow them time to say goodbye.

If you have any questions please post.

We are all here to support you as much as possible :flwr:

9th December 2010, 06:38 AM
Hi again everyone Harry is feeling a little better in himself I think. I took your advice and he's discovered a new love for scrambled eggs :) he is also eating more of his regular food if I mix it with a little roast dinner and some gravy.

However, the new diuretics are making him tinkle like crazy! Is it possible they could give him diahorrea too? He wakes me up 2-3 times every single night to take him downstairs and sit while he goes outside (about 10mins.) it must be frustrating for him but it's also making me feel ill :( I'll do anything I can for Harry but this constantly disturbed sleep is really difficult. I can't concentrate at work or college, I ache everywhere and just generally feel very unwell.

Should the diuretics be making him go this much? :(

9th December 2010, 09:32 AM
Glad to read that Harry is a little better, I have a 10 yr old on 5mg Fortekor - 1 tablet per day and 20mg Frusemide 1/2 a day in the morning. You do not say what dose Harry is on. When Jasper was first put on Frusemide nearly 2 yrs ago, he had 1 tablet which I gave first thing in the morning and then when his cough improved it was lowered, just recently with the dry central heating on and also last winter, we have had to up it to 1/2 in the morning and again at tea time, just until his cough has improved. I have never noticed a big difference in Jasper needing to go out, but I keep a eye on him for the first hour after taking the tablet, he has never had diarrhea while on them. Sorry that he is keeping you up at night, maybe you need to change the times that you are giving him the tablets or maybe the dose is to strong.

9th December 2010, 12:05 PM
Harry is on (daily) :

1x 50mg fortekor
2x 2.5mg vetmedin
2x 30mg frusemide
2x 10mg prilactone

That sounds even worse writing them all down :(

9th December 2010, 12:21 PM
That is a huge dose of Frusemide :( no wonder he is peeing so much :yikes

is there any way you can get him to a cardiologist? Your vet would need to refer you.

Is Harry insured? If so, check your insurance but he should be covered for referral to a specialist. I think you need their expertise for managing his condition.

Whereabouts in the country are you?

It's more likely the roast dinner and gravy is giving him the diarrhoea unfortunately - also gravy is generally high in salt which is something you should avoid with MVD.

Can you adjust the timings of his Frusemide? Maybe 7am and 7pm, so he has got rid of most of the fluid by bedtime.

9th December 2010, 12:32 PM
I have rang the vet we saw last time who is going to ring me this afternoon to discuss and I will ask for a referral. We live in Worcestershire.

We were absolutely fine on the frusemide alone but when prilactone was started that's when he started going mad with the toilet visits. He seems a little happier but the fluid just isn't budging.

9th December 2010, 12:49 PM
If the fluid isn't budging they might have to do a procedure to drain the fluid. It's not too pleasant but sometimes it really helps and they can then be managed successfully just with the drugs - and on a lower dose!!

You are sensible to keep in touch with your vets - you really need their support at this point, and I do think the cardiologist would help.

Let me know how you get on.

I don't know any cardiologists in your area - maybe PM Wagtails she might be able to help with that?

9th December 2010, 06:37 PM
Sorry to hear about Harry. :( Faith's mom is going through the same thing right now. :(

Good luck at the cardiologist. Hope is 9 years old as well and is going through many of the exact same things. Mom's cardiologist has been an absolute blessing.

9th December 2010, 06:54 PM
I don't know any cardiologists in your area - maybe PM Wagtails she might be able to help with that?

Yes do PM me if you would like to - and I will PM you to find out where you are and which vet you use.

Do hope you can get little Harry stabilised soon - it must be a great worry for you :hug:

10th December 2010, 02:21 PM
Hello again everyone. Sorry this post might be long icon_blshing

Yesterday was a very bad day, I spoke to the vet on the phone who has assured me there is nothing more that anybody (including a cardiologist) could do for Harry. He said he didn't expect Harry to make it to Christmas and suggested we started thinking about having Harry PTS in the next few days. I managed to hold it together (kind of) whilst on the phone but as soon as I hung up I was in floods of tears and couldnt breathe trying to tell my mum what he had said.

Although I have a lot of faith in this particular Vet, he has only seen Harry once. Last week he gave me a list of guidlines to his quality of life and said if we lost one guideline, we need to start thinking about having Harry PTS. However he said that so far Harry was ticking all 5 guidelines for having a good quality of life. He did say that Harry's heart is terrible, twice the size it should be :(

My mum strongly disagrees that it is Harry's "time" and reassured me that if I was unsure, she would let me know. I took him for a short walk this afternoon and whilst he was skipping around the field I made myself detatch myself from the situation nd thought "if I was a stranger watching this dog, would I think he is ready to be PTS?" and my answer was 100% no. Im so confused, from a medical perspective he is really bad but from a quality of life perspective he is ok and seems to be enjoying life. I am the last person to want to see Harry unhappy or in pain.

Ive got to say, I know I'll have a lot like this to deal with in the future, but this has got to be the worst thing ive ever experienced. I dont know why I always thought Harry and I would be together forever but I did. Ive felt like as long as I have Harry I dont need anything else. I cant believe saying goodbye to my best little buddy is just around the corner :(:(:(:(:(

10th December 2010, 02:56 PM
How terribly difficult for you and your mum. I know that we have many who have gone through this horrible disease and can offer some personal experience and perspective. But you are dealing with an issue that would be similar with any illness so that is where I would offer my own perspective.

First, I think you are wise and caring to try and look at Harry as a stranger might. And I would agree with your view I think- if he seems happy in himself and isn't in pain and struggling I would be encouraged to keep giving him time.

What I would weigh against that is that sometimes we don't fully understand the level of struggle which a vet might be in a be in a better position to do. And also: that I'd be aiming to let him go at the point where he clearly is about to start to struggle but is not yet having to experience serious discomfort. This is because I strongly believe it is much gentler and kinder for our loved companions to be released before they must deal with incapacitating pain or distress if at all possible, and with us by their side to ease their passing and bear witness, just as they stood by us for so long, even if it may seem hard to be there (I urge everyone to recall how our companions never questioned their devotion to us and gave us so much love, and to therefore be with them as they pass on, so they have the comfort of their owner's presence. I think it is our final responsibility to theae wonderful, loving companions, and though it may seem hard to imagine, it is also moving and consoling to be there). The difficulty is gauging that moment that is 'best' :flwr: especially when. It is a moment none of us wish to accept or see :(. A vet I trust told me when I had to take such a decision about one of my cats, that she felt it better to let her go while she was ill but still not in severe pain as she would only be slowly diminished by bouts of infection that she'd struggle with. She noted she was already distressed by being somewhat incontinent, which really upsets cats. For those reasons I took the very hard decision to let her go.

But that said- if Harry is happy in himself and greets each day still then I would be inclined to give him time. There's a good article on how to know when it is time pinned to the health library section which might be of help.

I am so sorry for your grief- to have had such a sweet companion for so long and have had him so much a part of all your memories makes such a situation especially hard.


11th December 2010, 05:53 PM
So glad to read your wise words, Karlin - we've missed you!

I've been in touch with xoxHannaHxox by PM, as she lives in my county, and have offered a few words from my own experience of "when is the right time". I must say, I agree with you very much about not leaving it until our beloved companions are really struggling. And that moment can sometimes come on quite suddenly, as I'm sure many of us can verify.

Meanwhile, I'm sure we are all holding Harry and his family in our hearts and hoping he still has a little more time with them all yet http://i673.photobucket.com/albums/vv97/Cavviewagtails/Animations/Heartblowingpoog.gif

Margaret C
12th December 2010, 12:47 AM
I do so feel for you.

The decision is never easy or straightforward, especially when you are young and it is your special dog.

The first cavalier we lost was Betsey Trotwood. She was my daughter's eighth birthday present and she died when Vikki was sixteen.
It was a heartbreaking time.

I had to put my poor little chin,Tyson, to sleep earlier this year. He too had heart problems which caused ascites ( fluid in his stomach )
Diuretics eventually stopped working, the fluid built up and his stomach became bloated while he slowly lost energy.
I like to think I made the decision to euthanise him before he became too uncomfortable.

I have owned dogs for thirty six years, so I have seen a lot of much loved companions die.
With one little tricolour girl I did not make the decision soon enough. and I vowed I would never do that again.

I am sorry if this upsets you, but it will be best if you think a little ahead and plan for a good ending.
Harry has had so much love, he will not know about death or dying, so he will have no fear as long as he has loving arms to hold him.

With my cavaliers I have always fed them their favourite titbit as the vet injected them, so my memories are of them looking up, eager eyed, in anticipation.

It is a very hard time for you, but I'm sure that you and your Mother together will know when things have changed for Harry, and he is beginning to struggle.

We are all thinking of you

12th December 2010, 02:12 AM
I am so sorry and thinking of you during this time

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