View Full Version : Our Belle Just Diagnosed with Heart Murmur

8th December 2010, 10:18 PM
So now we've started on the road to MVD, I'm afraid. Belle has a sensitive tummy and sometimes it gets upset and she gets the runs, if it gets really bad where we cannot help her with it, we take her to the vet. So anyway, she was in with the vet today. He gave her a good check up and detected a 'slight' murmur, so probably a Grade 1? She's 2 and a 1/2 years old, so young :(

Also the vet was concerned about her weight. I work so hard keeping my cavvies on the straight and narrow, but they are like their Mom and pile on the pounds when the just smell a treat! Belle was on a diet last year and lost 2 pounds. She wasn't feeling great on the diet so we took her off it and got some maintenance food, but she put it all back on. The vet suggested giving her this liquid, the name of it escapes me at the moment, but it's supposed to help her burn more fat. Now Belle has to go on a diet again, and it's so hard! We walk every day, otherwise she's a couch potato. Obesity is really a big problem with cavaliers, isn't it?

I just wanted to share this with you.

8th December 2010, 10:57 PM
Aww so sorry about Belle :(

I know how you feel, it is so hard keeping weight of cavies, especially when they're spayed!! Lola's currently 7kg but she goes up to 8kg some months then she'll loose it again. Poor girly only gets 100g of food a day :/

If it is a tiny murmur sometimes it does go away. My friend Ruth has 7 cavies and 3 of them were said to have a low heart murmur, grade 2, but then when she saw the vet a second time it had gone completely. But if you are worried about it, you could see a cardiologist.

8th December 2010, 11:36 PM
I am so sorry about Belle, what a worry this must be. My Molly used to have a real problem with her weight, she would look at a biscuit and put on 1lb :(
Eventually we put her on a natural diet and kept her to two meals a day around 70 grams each meal (2). (I was told to give her more) All her treats are either the dried fish twizzles http://www.fish4dogs.com/Categories/Dog-Shop/treats.aspx bits of raw vegetable and fruit plus Neem Sticks.

Molly has sm and cannot walk very far at all, we will walk about 200 yards, she will start rubbing her face or will just sit and refuse to move. Molly gets as much exercise as she wants which is not much.

Before we put her on a natural diet, the vet prescribed all these low calorie biscuits etc. These foods did not make any difference and she was miserable. My feeling is, she can't tolerate commercial food. Dougall can eat anything and it doesn't affect him. I suppose it is like people, different things work for different people.

We have managed to stabilise her weight now and she gets plenty of treats and she is a contented girlie.

I understand Carnitine is supposed to help with weight loss (it turns fat into energy), perhaps Nicki can confirm or correct me.

kind regards

9th December 2010, 12:26 AM
Couple of points, and I should state that I am not criticizing and I'm saying this kindly (if you could hear my voice) but I am saying it very directly to every member here, not just those who have posted:

There is no magic pill, supplement, drug, liquid that is going to help with weight loss. Don't think in terms of going on a diet and then stopping a diet - it is a WAY OF LIFE that will be forever. Feed a good quality food that agrees with the dog - most "diet foods" are crap. Measure the amount carefully and feed (I prefer two meals a day). If the dog needs to lose weight, feed less until you see results. If the dog needs to gain weight, slowly feed more until you see results. Active dogs will get more to eat to maintain their weight, and inactive dogs will get less. Weigh your dogs to monitor (use the same scale consistently) - don't just guess at their weight. I don't believe that Cavaliers have a problem with weight, I believe that the problem is with Cavalier (and most toy breeds and even many large breeds) owners.

I've owned 12 Cavaliers (all spayed/neutered) over 21 years. None of them ever had a problem with weight and all were on the trim side. Most came to me as adults, and those that were overweight when they arrived quickly lost the excess in my home without any moping or complaining or problem. (Sadly I cannot say the same about myself; the difference is that there isn't someone else controlling what I eat!)

Of my ten Cavaliers that are gone: one lived to 13, three lived to 14, two lived to 15, and two lived to 16. (The other two were rescues that had no history and I cannot honestly say their ages when they died, but they were elderly.) The most important thing that we can do to increase longevity in our pets is entirely within our control - and that is maintaining a healthy weight. (I think the second most important thing is to have access to good care - including specialist care.) Interestingly, only one of those ten Cavaliers died as a direct result of heart disease (a rescue that was a permanent foster because of her age that only lived with me for three months before she died). The other nine had a wide range of age of diagnosis of a murmur - for example, of the two that died at 15, one was heart clear at the time of her death and the other was diagnosed with a murmur at 1 1/2 years and yet never went into heart failure.

Regarding low grade murmurs coming and going - this is not uncommon. Murmurs can vary in intensity from day to day, especially low grade murmurs. But - remember that a murmur is simply a noise that can be heard that is a symptom of the underlying heart disease (acquired valvular disease in our case). Just because a vet can hear a grade II murmur one day and can't hear it another day does not mean that the underlying heart disease has improved or gone away. This is different from innocent flow puppy murmurs - in that case there is no underlying heart disease, it is simply a developmental turbulence that can be heard.


9th December 2010, 03:43 AM
Amen to what Pat wrote.

Brian M
9th December 2010, 09:03 AM

And thank you Pat for an excellent post which will serve to make me more determined to keep an eye on the weights of my four girls .:)

9th December 2010, 09:08 AM
Amen to what Pat wrote.

That is exactly my experience too Pat and how well you said it.

My method is even more simple. If the dog looks and feels overweight feed less, if it looks thin then gradually increase the food. I always weigh the food, keeping a note of what I have given each of my five at the end of any particular week and of what, because I find a couple of mine look and seem to feel better on a mix of two types of kibble.

You haven't mentioned exercise Pat, which I think is essential to encourage a healthy heart and cardio vascular system. Even if it is difficult to take a dog out for walks, even if someone doesn't have a garden for a dog to run in, active play indoors can be just as good for the dog and lots of fun for the owner. In the past I lived in a bedsit with two dogs, yet we played games and they stayed fit and healthy until I moved to somewhere better, one living to 15 without trace of a murmour and the other to almost 17 but with a grade 5 and effective medication.

Coincidentally, since 1983 I too have had 12 happy and healthy (well except for Holly's CC/DE) Cavaliers, the present adorable crew ranging from 8 years mvd clear to 2 years mvd clear.

9th December 2010, 10:50 AM
I agree. I think its the same with humans - eat less, excercise more. :rolleyes: Very easy.... but not for me :p:p

9th December 2010, 11:31 AM
Totally agree Pat, I was trying to guess the supplement the vet had suggested. Molly is on a plain natural diet (Darlings) with no weight loss supplements.

9th December 2010, 11:35 AM
Sorry to hear about belle Desrae,
She's just the most darling little dog. Maybe you might bring her to the cardiologist testing day when the details are finalised?
Not that I don't trust the vet but I always like an expert second opinion.
Thanks for the excellent advice Pat and Flo.
Once the thaw sets in it'll be dog walking time for a lot of us I think...:-D

9th December 2010, 11:49 AM
Desrae, I forgot to say that Im sorry to hear that Belle has a murmur. Hopefully it won't deteriorate and she will be ok with it. Trapper has a grade 2, but you wouldn't know it, and he is coping fine with it at the moment.

9th December 2010, 12:37 PM
Sorry to hear about Belle's murmur, Desrae - quite often though when they develop a murmur at this age, it does not deteriorate until they are much older, so do not feel too discouraged.

Sometimes murmurs will be apparent and then not heard next time, but often it is because the dog is poorly or or stressed in some way - Pat is right, it does not mean the condition has disappeared just that the murmur is not so apparent.

Tania you are right, Carnitine is a nutrient that helps the body turn fat into energy. It is produced by the body in the liver and kidneys and stored in the skeletal muscles, heart, brain, and sperm.Usually, the body can make all the carnitine it needs. Some people, however, may be deficient in carnitine because their bodies cannot make enough carnitine or transport it into tissues so it can be used.

From http://www.umm.edu/altmed/articles/carnitine-l-000291.htm

A few small studies have suggested that carnitine (usually propionyl-L-carnitine) can help reduce symptoms of heart failure and improve exercise capacity in people with heart failure. However, more and larger studies are needed to confirm any benefit.

This may be why the vet has recommended it - it is also used in some commercial foods which are designed to reduce weight.

I think we all know there is no "magic button" - it is a battle with diet and exercise, and so much harder when the dog is unable to exercise sufficiently. You feel mean reducing their food, but it is in their own best interests [and yours as you want them with you for as long as possible]

They do adapt to a lower amount of food, you can find ways of making the food last longer, either with dispensing toys such as Buster cubes if you are feeding kibble, or smearing it inside Kongs etc.

9th December 2010, 06:46 PM
Pat, Flo, Nicki and Tania - what would we do without your excellent calm advice?

Thanks so much for bringing such common sense into what can often be an emotionally heated debate concerning feeding and weight :wggle:!

9th December 2010, 07:18 PM
There is indeed some good advice here! Both Bob and Belle are eating James Wellbeloved Turkey and Rice two meals a day. I count out the pieces of kibble in their bowl to 12 pieces each time, it adds up to about 1/3 cup. I feel really stingy giving them less, but the vet said to leave Belle hungry! :yikes I just want to give my little baby all she wants and not starve her out of it. I give them banana chips for treats and the occassional glob of peanut butter or carrot sticks, etc.

I saw on another thread that maybe putting veggies in the food will help provide more filler. I must start doing that, her tummy is sensitive so I have to be careful. I doubt I can make her exercise any more, she loves the couch too much so I guess she'll have to eat less. I already told her that I would go on a diet with her, so she won't have to go it alone! You wouldn't believe how much I've gained since I've been doing so much more baking with my new business... goodness graciousness!
Anyway, thanks for the advice and support.:-D