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Sydneys Mom
6th June 2011, 04:14 PM
Sydney has been on low doses of all his hearts meds (furosemide, enalapril, diltiazem, digoxin, vetmedin). For the past few weeks, I've been noticing some coughing coming back, and overall weakness in his hind legs. He's not panting but his breathing does sound nasally. He also groans alot and seems bloated.. We have an appointment with the cardiologist for Wednesday.

What it the usual course of treatment as symptoms become worse? Is it increasing the meds that he is currently on or are there other medications that help.

I'm having a real hard time with this. I feel like I'm losing a tiny piece of Sydney every day. He still has a good appetite, likes to walk around the yard and his major form of exercise is his constant wagging tail :p. But he does mostly sleep.

I guess I'm looking for your opinions and maybe some thoughts on what I should ask his doctor.

smarsden99
6th June 2011, 04:19 PM
Hi,

Sorry to hear about sydneys condition getting slightly worse , it is tough.

When my dog scooby started to get worse the vet introduced PRilactone to help with the syncope episodes but as for the breathing we had to increase his dose of fruisimide and it seems to have helped. Scooby is the same he sleeps alot of the day now too , he has a little wander around and eats/drinks but he cant bark anymore and like you I feel iam losing a part of him with each passing day....

I hope the cardiologist can help him and take care.

Sharon and Scooby

Karlin
6th June 2011, 04:38 PM
I would echo Sharon, as my girl Lucy is on the same scheme of meds for the same reasons. We have had no syncope episodes for weeks now. :) If Syndey is looking bloated, perhaps some of that liquid can be aspirated off, or the diuretics increased at least short term. I have been told to do the latter a couple of times when Lucy is having any problems.

I think you do get to the point where you play it week to week, and then day by day. If a dog is still generally happy and content and not suffering and uncomfortable or struggling, Id just let them get on with their quiet sleepier phase of life they are now in.

I have learned to just take things as they come -- these dogs can really bounce back in surprising ways (my own vet says you just cannot make predictions with cavaliers -- they adjust to live with heart issues that would cause other breeds to go within days of onset).

I've now had three times in the past four months where I was sure we were looking at just a few weeks or days for Lucy. She is still snuffling about and demanding treats. :) But I also know she cannot keep going through these episodes and eventually the time will come for her to get her wings.

I hope your cardio can give a couple of suggestions to you. :flwr:

Sydneys Mom
6th June 2011, 04:51 PM
Thank you both.

Sharon, I have been reading about Scooby. What a fighter he is! Sorry Karlin, I didn't know that Lucy was going through the same thing. I know you both understand what I'm feeling, as do many others on the forum.

Part of my problem is that Sydney is my first dog! I don't know what to expect and all the information out there about the heart issues just seem to fly over my head. Just want to make sure I'm doing all the right things for him.

RodRussell
6th June 2011, 05:31 PM
... Part of my problem is that Sydney is my first dog! I don't know what to expect and all the information out there about the heart issues just seem to fly over my head. Just want to make sure I'm doing all the right things for him.

I think that as long as your cardiologist is in the loop and making recommendations, I would follow his/her advice. I don't want to complicate things, but in the earlier stages of congestive heart failure (CHF), when the cardio starts prescribing a diuretic and an ACE-inhibitor for our cavaliers, we tend to give more holistic medications instead. But when the cavalier approaches the end stage, we go with what the cardio prescribes. The only exception has been Vetmedin/pimobendan. We are particularly cautious about that drug, because if the dog's heart is still strong, despite the CHF, it can do more harm than good. So we watch our dogs very carefully when they are on Vetmedin.

Sydneys Mom
6th June 2011, 07:20 PM
I don't want to complicate things, but in the earlier stages of congestive heart failure (CHF), when the cardio starts prescribing a diuretic and an ACE-inhibitor for our cavaliers, we tend to give more holistic medications instead. But when the cavalier approaches the end stage, we go with what the cardio prescribes. The only exception has been Vetmedin/pimobendan. We are particularly cautious about that drug, because if the dog's heart is still strong, despite the CHF, it can do more harm than good. So we watch our dogs very carefully when they are on Vetmedin.


Thanks Rod, but you have completely confused me as I know next to nothing about holistic medications. :sl*p: but I am willing to learn! Just for more info about Sydney, he is in a pretty serious state with his heart. The alaphebet list of his conditions is MVD, CHF, PAH, and arrhythmia. He was started on low doses of the meds so there would be room to add. Currently he's taking furosemide 25mg 1x daily, enalapril 5mg 2x daily, diltiazem 60mg 2x daily, digoxin .65mg 2x daily, vetmedin 2.5mg 2x daily. I would assume, in light of the change in his symptoms, some of these dosages will be upped.

So, I guess my question to you would be, what is the holistic approach and what harm can the Vetmedin cause? Thanks for your help.

Sydneys Mom
9th June 2011, 04:15 PM
:updte:

Well, we were at the cardiologist yesterday. The good news is that the medications are helping to keep the fluid out of his lungs. The bad news is that he had fluid in his abdomen, around his heart and an enlarged liver. They were able to drain the fluid in his abdomen, so hopefully Sydney will be more comfortable now and his liver will go back to normal. The doctor said that this was the cause of the groaning. I can see the difference in his body size already, as they drained about a 1/3 liter. The doctor said it varies from dog to dog, but he may have to get his abdomen drained every so often and this type of fluid build up is better than having the fluid in lungs. Do any of you have experience with this type of draining?

Also, his medications were tweaked. The dosages of furosemide and vetmedin have been doubled and spironolactone has been added. He needs to go back next week for a recheck.

Today he just seems content to kick back and watch me do my thing around the house.

smarsden99
9th June 2011, 06:49 PM
Hi Joyce,

Iam glad you have been to see the cardiologist today and that draining the excess fluid from his abdomen should give him relief......

He is on the same tablets as my dog scooby and new drug should help with any potential syncope episodes he may get in the future.

I hope sydney gets some stability and keeps on going..... I have thought so many times that scooby was going to lose his battle but he fights on...

Sharon and Scooby

Sydneys Mom
16th June 2011, 06:25 PM
UPDATE: More Medication, Viagra
Last week, when Sydney had abdomenal fluid drained, his cardiologist added another diuretic AND increased the doses of some of his other heart meds. Yesterday, one week later, we were back for a recheck. His abdomen is starting to fill with fluid again and the pressure in his lungs in increasing. Rather than increase the doses again which can damage his kidneys, we added Viagra to the mix. I hope this helps him. The good news is that they did a kidney panel and his kidneys are functioning great!

I know I should be happy that there are still treatment options for Sydney, but I just can't stop crying today. I have a constant knot in my stomach and a lump in my throat. I feel so afraid and lost. I don't even want to leave the house, just want to sit here and watch him sleep. I'm afraid he's going to wake up and need me and I won't be here. I know I'm rambling, I'm having a bad day and needed to get it out. I need to send this now, tears are getting on the keyboard. Thanks for taking the time to read this. I know all of you understand.

goda
16th June 2011, 07:23 PM
UPDATE: More Medication, Viagra
Last week, when Sydney had abdomenal fluid drained, his cardiologist added another diuretic AND increased the doses of some of his other heart meds. Yesterday, one week later, we were back for a recheck. His abdomen is starting to fill with fluid again and the pressure in his lungs in increasing. Rather than increase the doses again which can damage his kidneys, we added Viagra to the mix. I hope this helps him. The good news is that they did a kidney panel and his kidneys are functioning great!

I know I should be happy that there are still treatment options for Sydney, but I just can't stop crying today. I have a constant knot in my stomach and a lump in my throat. I feel so afraid and lost. I don't even want to leave the house, just want to sit here and watch him sleep. I'm afraid he's going to wake up and need me and I won't be here. I know I'm rambling, I'm having a bad day and needed to get it out. I need to send this now, tears are getting on the keyboard. Thanks for taking the time to read this. I know all of you understand.

What is the purpose of the viagara?

Charlifarley
16th June 2011, 07:44 PM
Hi Joyce,
Sorry to read that you are having a bad day, I've just started down the road of heart meds for Trapper and while he is in much better shape than he was a couple of weeks ago, I'm beginning to understand how difficult this can be :hug:

Brian M
16th June 2011, 07:55 PM
Hello Joyce

We are all here supporting you and Sydney ,all our thoughts to you two.

brian and
pops,daisy,rosie and lily :flwr:

Sydneys Mom
16th June 2011, 09:17 PM
I've just started down the road of heart meds for Trapper and while he is in much better shape than he was a couple of weeks ago, I'm beginning to understand how difficult this can be :hug:

Thanks Shirley...Sorry about Trapper. All the meds DO help. For me, the difficulty comes when I realize that is all the pills do, help. There is no cure and I know the symptoms, at some point, are going to get worse.



We are all here supporting you and Sydney ,all our thoughts to you two.

Brian, this is why I come to this forum. Thanks.

Sandrac
16th June 2011, 10:14 PM
Just remember you are doing the best you possibly can for him to keep him comfortable. It sounds like you have a good cardiologist overseeing his treatment. I know its really difficult to think about it but try and remember that Sydney lives in the moment, he doesn't know why you are feeling sad. :hug:

Wagtails
16th June 2011, 10:29 PM
Oh Joyce, I'm another one going through something very similar with my Victoria at the moment, and finding it even harder as it's coming so soon after losing my precious Megan too. She's on a similar mix of pills as Sydney, and I must say that I think the Spironolactone has been particularly helpful in cheering her up a bit. The trouble is that all these medications work well for a while and then, as the heart fails more and more, they just stop having such a good effect.

I've had several Cavaliers with heart failure in the past and they've all had problems with fluid in their lungs, but Victoria is the first to have such a swollen belly. I even got my vet to run blood tests and do an ultrasound scan in case there was something we were missing, but he thought all along that it was "just" her heart failure and, of course, he was right.

Nicki has made a suggestion about an older diuretic which she found helped reduce the belly fluid in the past and we are going to try it for the next few days, so I'll let you know how we get on.

Like you, I know that we are just "buying time", and it's so very painful to contemplate the inevitable, especially when they are pottering about and not seemingly in any great distress. It's especially hard for you as Sydney is your first dog and, marvellous as this Forum is for advice and support, it can be quite confusing if you've nothing to compare it with.

I think you must trust the vets you know, follow their advice, and just let Sydney tell you when he can't cope any more. Because he will, you know - all my previous doggies have taught me that, when their time comes, they somehow manage to let you know, even though you can't possibly imagine it now.

Meanwhile, let's all hold each other in our hearts, all around the world xx
http://i673.photobucket.com/albums/vv97/Cavviewagtails/Animations/Dog%20animations/cavsroundtheworldclipart.gif

Sydneys Mom
16th June 2011, 10:48 PM
Sandra and AnnMarie, you've both made me cry, but these are good tears knowing you care. Sydney's cardiologist is very through. I know we are doing everything we can for him and that the main thing is that he is still happy. He is such a sweetheart and lets the doctors poke and prod him without complaint. I come to here to learn from everyone here that has had experience with all these issues and to learn how best to help Sydney, BUT I also come here because I know the support I receive here isn't just words, but very sincere.

AnnMarie, I'm sorry that you too are going through the same thing with Victoria. I will keep you both in my thoughts and pray the the medication continues to help her.

gamefanz
16th June 2011, 11:14 PM
I have written my post about 4 times now and each time I have deleted it. I wanted to share my experience with you as someone who just lost her dog(a peke) who had the heart issues. I wanted to go into detail but I don't think this forum needs that. I have shed tears just remembering back 2 months ago. But I will only write this, you are not alone. This forum is a great support system for those with health issues, I wish I knew of a forum to go to when I needed it the most. Wagtails is right, your CAV will tell you when its time. I needed him to tell me and I asked him to tell me. He finally showed me in no uncertain terms that it was time. Trust in your vet they will be there for you every step of the way.
I just want to give you a hug :hug:
Becky
P.s. sorry if this does not make sense. Trying to think while crying. sorry

Sydneys Mom
16th June 2011, 11:30 PM
Becky, hug received and thanks, I needed that. Sorry for the loss of your peke. I appreciate your sharing what is still a such an emotional event for you. I sitting here crying as I write this, but Sydney is watching me and wagging his tail so for right now everything is OK.

RodRussell
16th June 2011, 11:42 PM
What is the purpose of the viagara?

Viagra (a/k/a sildenifil) is prescribed to lower pulmonary hypertension by some cardiologists for dogs with congestive heart failure, often in combination with pimobendan.

BrooklynMom
17th June 2011, 12:10 AM
I don't have any good medical advice, but I just wanted to send you a big hug from Brooklyn and I. You must be going through a roller coaster of emotions right now, so let me know if there is anything I can do to help. We are thinking of you and Sydney!! :hug:

Pat
17th June 2011, 01:27 AM
Viagra (a/k/a sildenifil) is prescribed to lower pulmonary hypertension by some cardiologists for dogs with congestive heart failure, often in combination with pimobendan.

Sildenafil (see Plumb's Veterinary Drug Handbook page 1100 and Manual of Canine and Feline Cardiology page 309) is used exclusively for pulmonary hypertension. It does nothing for congestive heart failure, and it does nothing for pulmonary edema or ascites (fluid in lungs or in abdomen as a result of CHF). I've used it for two dogs - one had CHF but also had moderate PAH, for which the drug was prescribed. The other dog had no heart failure (but had very mild heart disease) but had severe acute PAH most likely as the result of a pulmonary embolism. The drug is also used in humans for PAH but most humans with significant PAH end up getting a lung transplant. I know a couple of dogs who use it due to permanent lung damage from heartworm disease.

From Manual of Canine and Feline Cardiology:

"Sildenafil has been shown to improve both exercise tolerance and quality of life.......may have a positive effect in dogs with acquired pulmonary hypertension secondary to chronic valve disease, congenital heart disease, chronic pulmonary disease and heartworm disease......can be used in combination with pimobendan for additional inodilator effect. Dosage is .5 to 1.0 mg/kg two or three times a day."

Pat

Pat
17th June 2011, 01:33 AM
I have written my post about 4 times now and each time I have deleted it. I wanted to share my experience with you as someone who just lost her dog(a peke) who had the heart issues. I wanted to go into detail but I don't think this forum needs that. I have shed tears just remembering back 2 months ago. But I will only write this, you are not alone. This forum is a great support system for those with health issues, I wish I knew of a forum to go to when I needed it the most. Wagtails is right, your CAV will tell you when its time. I needed him to tell me and I asked him to tell me. He finally showed me in no uncertain terms that it was time. Trust in your vet they will be there for you every step of the way.
I just want to give you a hug :hug:
Becky
P.s. sorry if this does not make sense. Trying to think while crying. sorry

I'm sorry about your Peke. I had a wonderful black Peke named Raisin who lived to be 16 1/2. He is my only dog that ever died on his own - he had a fatal arrhythmia one night during his sleep and just didn't wake up. He was curled up very peacefully, and I think it was a good way to go. He had severe heart disease for a long time but symptoms were well controlled until the very end. I'd like to have another Peke one day; he was very special.

Pat

Pat
17th June 2011, 01:52 AM
UPDATE: More Medication, Viagra
Last week, when Sydney had abdomenal fluid drained, his cardiologist added another diuretic AND increased the doses of some of his other heart meds. Yesterday, one week later, we were back for a recheck. His abdomen is starting to fill with fluid again and the pressure in his lungs in increasing. Rather than increase the doses again which can damage his kidneys, we added Viagra to the mix. I hope this helps him. The good news is that they did a kidney panel and his kidneys are functioning great!

Joyce,

I've used sildenafil (viagra) for two different dogs some years back before most vets and many cardiologists knew about its use for PAH. This drug can be very effective for PAH (pulmonary arterial hypertension) and can greatly reduce symptoms such as dyspnea (difficulty breathing) and tachypnea (rapid breathing) caused by the PAH. But the drug does nothing for heart failure so it can't help pulmonary edema (fluid in lungs) or ascites (fluid in abdomen). I purchased 100 mg tablets at Walmart and split them into 12 pieces. But the price then was only about $10 per tablet and I understand it is much higher now. I understand that Pfizer loses the patent next year so generic should be available soon.

My boy who was most like Sydney also took enalapril, furosemide, sildenafil, digoxin and pimobendan. (He did not have the arrhythmia as Sydney has.) He actually did go into kidney failure when he was 15, so I understand that worry. We adjusted his meds and discontinued the digoxin and changed his diet to low phosphorus, added a phosphorus binder, and I gave twice daily subq fluids. His symptoms were well controlled for another year and a half, and he was put to sleep at 16 1/2 for reasons other than heart or kidney failure (quality of life - he ended up blind/deaf with extreme senile dementia agitation).

I can't say that I agree that ascites is "better" than pulmonary edema.......they both are serious. The procedure to drain fluid is called abdominocentesis if you want to google and read about it. I've known many dogs who have had this process done repeatedly.

http://www.vmth.ucdavis.edu/cardio/cases/videoatlas/Abdominocentesis/abdominocentesis.htm

Question - you said earlier that Sydney took furosemide ONCE a day - that's unusual as it is generally given twice a day and can be given up to four times per day. Has that changed now that the ascites is not well controlled? If not, I'd certainly discuss it with the cardiologist. And you've now added spironolactone? Hydrochlorothiazide can sometimes also be given - this is called triple diuretic therapy for cases that become refractory. These are three different acting diuretics.

Has the cardiologist asked you to monitor resting respiration rate? That is something that pet owners can do. There is a canine CHF yahoo group where there are discussions about these things in great detail.

Do you have urinalysis run as well as blood chemistry to check kidney function? Kidney failure will show up in urinalysis long before it shows up in blood chemistry. By the time that BUN and creatinine are elevated, kidneys are only working about 25%. But a low urine specific gravity gives you an advance warning and you can make some dietary changes, etc. I have actually purchased a digital refractometer so that I can measure USG at home.

Pat

Sydneys Mom
17th June 2011, 02:53 AM
Thanks Pat, I was hoping you would see my post and reply. I've learned much from your posts. Now as to your comments:


This drug can be very effective for PAH (pulmonary arterial hypertension) and can greatly reduce symptoms such as dyspnea (difficulty breathing) and tachypnea (rapid breathing) caused by the PAH. But the drug does nothing for heart failure so it can't help pulmonary edema (fluid in lungs) or ascites (fluid in abdomen). I purchased 100 mg tablets at Walmart and split them into 12 pieces. But the price then was only about $10 per tablet and I understand it is much higher now. I understand that Pfizer loses the patent next year so generic should be available soon.

I did know all this. In order to get Sydney on the Viagra immediately, I had a local pharmacy fill a RX for 2 100mg tabs (which I split in 3 each for a 6 day supply) for a cost of $44!!!!! The cardiologist hooked me up with a compond pharmacy and I can get a 30 day supply for $60 plus shipping. Big difference.


I can't say that I agree that ascites is "better" than pulmonary edema.......they both are serious. The procedure to drain fluid is called abdominocentesis if you want to google and read about it. I've known many dogs who have had this process done repeatedly.

As it was explained to me, it is still serious, however, as far as controlling it, it was easier on his body to drain the fluid rather than give more drugs at this time. In all likelihood, since he is starting to retain fluid in his abdomen already, he will need the proceedure again. But, just one day with the viaga, I can see that he is already urinating more and his belly doesn't seem as bloated.


Question - you said earlier that Sydney took furosemide ONCE a day - that's unusual as it is generally given twice a day and can be given up to four times per day. Has that changed now that the ascites is not well controlled? If not, I'd certainly discuss it with the cardiologist. And you've now added spironolactone? Hydrochlorothiazide can sometimes also be given - this is called triple diuretic therapy for cases that become refractory. These are three different acting diuretics.

Orignially, it was once a day. The cardiologist is conservative and wanted to keep some "wiggle room" for increasing the meds. He is now on furosemide twice a day and spironoactone twice a day and his dose of vetmedin has also doubled. I haven't heard of hydrochlorothiazide, I will ask about that. Thanks for the suggestion.


Has the cardiologist asked you to monitor resting respiration rate? That is something that pet owners can do. There is a canine CHF yahoo group where there are discussions about these things in great detail.

Do you have urinalysis run as well as blood chemistry to check kidney function? Kidney failure will show up in urinalysis long before it shows up in blood chemistry. By the time that BUN and creatinine are elevated, kidneys are only working about 25%. But a low urine specific gravity gives you an advance warning and you can make some dietary changes, etc. I have actually purchased a digital refractometer so that I can measure USG at home.


I have been monitoring the resting respiration rate. It seems to be at an average of 32 breaths a minute. As far as a urinalysis, we haven't had that done. Another thing I will ask about. I will also look into a digital refractometer. Another good suggestion.

I appreciate your imput. Please, if you have any more suggestions, please let me know.

anniemac
17th June 2011, 02:56 AM
Joyce,

All I want to say is I've been crying for you and my post deleted so I just got back to tell you I feel for you. I will be praying for you and sydney. Ok. Here comes the tears. I can't offer advice about medication and mvd. I can pray for you and want you to know you have touched me. I will say that having recently lost my first cavalier (the love of my life), I will tell you they have a way of letting you know. All you can do is what you are doing and try as hard as it is, to savor each moment. People would tell me they can sense your pain, so no matter how hard it is I hope you find strength.

Thinking of you

Sent from my Droid using Tapatalk

Sydneys Mom
17th June 2011, 03:39 AM
Thanks Annie. I followed Ella's journey and shed many tears for both of you. Sydney is so special for me in so many ways. He was here for me when I was sick and would just lay near by watching over me. If I tried to get up he would walk next to me. I need to do that for him now. He deserves nothing less.

anniemac
17th June 2011, 04:13 AM
Syndey's stone is in my jar of prayers already but I am praying extra hard right now :lotsaluv:

Reptigirl
17th June 2011, 05:11 AM
I don't really have any advise but I'm sending you a :hug:! You guys are in our thoughts!

Piper
17th June 2011, 06:40 AM
Sorry to hear this is happening to your sweet dog :(

Jasper and Holly
17th June 2011, 08:07 AM
I am just reading this right now and I want you to know I am thinking about you and Sydney. I went through the same thing with my last dog Sam so I know what you are going through. It's tough to deal with as you don't want to lose them but you don't want them to suffer either. My thoughts are with you.

Wagtails
17th June 2011, 12:35 PM
Hydrochlorothiazide can sometimes also be given - this is called triple diuretic therapy for cases that become refractory. These are three different acting diuretics.

This is the new diuretic that Nicki recommended I ask my vet about for Victoria's ascites and I've just picked up the prescription this morning. In the UK it's called Co-amilozide (which contains two active ingredients, amiloride hydrochloride and hydrochlorothiazide). The vet's wholesaler had never heard of it (!) but forunately a local pharmacist had some in stock so we start the new regime tomorrow

So we are now on the "triple diuretic therapy" you outlined, Pat. Thank you, as always, for your helpful and informative posts - where would we be without you?

I'll let you know how Victoria gets on.

gamefanz
17th June 2011, 12:49 PM
Thank you. They are really great dogs, I would have bought another but the memories would be too much. I'm so glad Raisin was able to go in peace. I had wished ours would have done the same but he was very comfortable with us there with him. With him his heart was enlarged so much that it started cutting off his trachea so it was the only choice we could make. It will take time to get over this loss and with a new puppy coming into our home it won't be so quiet. We will be happy to have a young pup in here.
I wish you nothing but the best and I hope you are able to get another peke someday.
Becky



I'm sorry about your Peke. I had a wonderful black Peke named Raisin who lived to be 16 1/2. He is my only dog that ever died on his own - he had a fatal arrhythmia one night during his sleep and just didn't wake up. He was curled up very peacefully, and I think it was a good way to go. He had severe heart disease for a long time but symptoms were well controlled until the very end. I'd like to have another Peke one day; he was very special.

Pat

Karlin
17th June 2011, 01:13 PM
As always Pat thanks for the detail -- am going to get Lucy into the cardio and ask about some of these possibilities for meds down the line; she is managing really well at the moment with the addition of spiro. but useful to know frusemide could go up and spiro. could be twice daily; as well as triple diuretics.

One thing I am learning with Lucy -- you just cannot make predictions with cavaliers and MVD as to how they will do and the RIGHT combination of meds can add weeks/months/years to a dog's life even when you think they are on their last few days!! It is so worth working with a cardiologist. It is also worth our (owners) doing our best not to panic or get really upset as the journey with MVd can be quite long with much quality of life left for a diagnosed dog. I really try not to worry and just go day by day. Almost five months ago I was very upset and sure Lucy was on her final days while I was away. :( And she is sleeping beside me on a footstool right now. :)

anniemac
17th June 2011, 02:01 PM
I can't figure out how to add photo, but I added a prayer photo that is under my photo library on my profile. It will not let me add it!

Love my Cavaliers
17th June 2011, 02:36 PM
I always think having a dog with severe SM is terrible, but then I read all these stories from Marie-Anne, Sharon, Joyce, Karlin, Deb, Shirley who have dogs who are suffering with various or end-stage MVD and my heart breaks for you all. It just sounds horrible to witness your dog not being able to breathe. Three of my dogs are already oldies and are murmur free (yeah!!!!). Oz was born with a congenital murmur which has not changed since he's been born (he'll be four in one month) and his cardiologist (Dr. Michael Leuthy) doesn't think it makes him any more prone to MVD than any other cavalier. So, my heart aches for all of you. I hope I never have to experience what any of you are going through. SM is bad enough thank you.

Becky, I am so sorry for the recent loss of your peke. I hope he is running around like crazy at the bridge meeting all of our wonderful cavaliers that are there waiting to be his best buddies.

Hugs for all of you and your dogs.

gamefanz
17th June 2011, 02:42 PM
Thank you very much. Many thoughts and hugs to everyone else:hug:

Becky




I always think having a dog with severe SM is terrible, but then I read all these stories from Marie-Anne, Sharon, Joyce, Karlin, Deb, Shirley who have dogs who are suffering with various or end-stage MVD and my heart breaks for you all. It just sounds horrible to witness your dog not being able to breathe. Three of my dogs are already oldies and are murmur free (yeah!!!!). Oz was born with a congenital murmur which has not changed since he's been born (he'll be four in one month) and his cardiologist (Dr. Michael Leuthy) doesn't think it makes him any more prone to MVD than any other cavalier. So, my heart aches for all of you. I hope I never have to experience what any of you are going through. SM is bad enough thank you.

Becky, I am so sorry for the recent loss of your peke. I hope he is running around like crazy at the bridge meeting all of our wonderful cavaliers that are there waiting to be his best buddies.

Hugs for all of you and your dogs.

Sydneys Mom
17th June 2011, 04:28 PM
I always think having a dog with severe SM is terrible, but then I read all these stories from Marie-Anne, Sharon, Joyce, Karlin, Deb, Shirley who have dogs who are suffering with various or end-stage MVD and my heart breaks for you all. It just sounds horrible to witness your dog not being able to breathe. Three of my dogs are already oldies and are murmur free (yeah!!!!). Oz was born with a congenital murmur which has not changed since he's been born (he'll be four in one month) and his cardiologist (Dr. Michael Leuthy) doesn't think it makes him any more prone to MVD than any other cavalier. So, my heart aches for all of you. I hope I never have to experience what any of you are going through. SM is bad enough thank you.

SM is terrible. I don't know much about it except what I've read on this forum. By the same token, I know a lot of people know alot about heart diseases. I don't always come here for answers and when I get people addressing my concerns, both the emotional and medical, I always feel better. Glad Oz is OK and hope he stays that way.

anniemac
17th June 2011, 04:39 PM
As always Pat thanks for the detail -- am going to get Lucy into the cardio and ask about some of these possibilities for meds down the line; she is managing really well at the moment with the addition of spiro. but useful to know frusemide could go up and spiro. could be twice daily; as well as triple diuretics.

One thing I am learning with Lucy -- you just cannot make predictions with cavaliers and MVD as to how they will do and the RIGHT combination of meds can add weeks/months/years to a dog's life even when you think they are on their last few days!! It is so worth working with a cardiologist. It is also worth our (owners) doing our best not to panic or get really upset as the journey with MVd can be quite long with much quality of life left for a diagnosed dog. I really try not to worry and just go day by day. Almost five months ago I was very upset and sure Lucy was on her final days while I was away. :( And she is sleeping beside me on a footstool right now. :)

I remember when you were really upset about Lucy and was thinking it was close to her time. That is really good advice because sometimes they surprise us. I thought Ella was going to have months and she could have had years. I too only know about SM but reading this and seeing all the medications and heartache, I feel for all of you. I do understand about taking things day by day and since you said Sydney still wags her tail, then thats something to treasure. All we can do when our loved ones are sick is what you are doing. Asking questions, talking and visiting her cardiologist and making things the best they can. It's hard not to worry about tomorrow, when you have today but I am thinking of you

Nicki
17th June 2011, 05:56 PM
Marie-Anne, I really hope that the Co-Amilozide will give Victoria a good while longer - It's not used as much now as most vets think that modern drugs are better, but my [older] cardiologist thinks it is brilliant for belly fluid - it really helped Fufu, cleared all her fluid. I think it must be so uncomfortable for them :( I was taught to tell if it was fluid by turning them on to their backs and tapping the belly slightly, you can see it sloshing around. It helps to compare it to a normal dog to start with.

I'm sorry that so many of you are struggling with MVD dogs right now - like SM it is an emotional rollercoaster but I think that with MVD they do not have the pain which is a blessing. They seem to gradually adjust to a lower activity level, and it's only when their breathing is badly affected that they get distressed with it. They do surprise you though as Karlin has found, which is lovely to hear.

This is upsetting to read but I think it is important and you need to have things clear in your mind.

I think dogs do let you know when they've had enough - there are lots of posts about this, my thoughts are:



I think it is important to be around for the dog, not least for them to be able to go out for a pee when necessary also you have some special time together.


I would write down the things that you think are important to your dog to give them a good quality of life

These would be on my list:

managing a short walk - even if it's only 5 minutes for the stimulation


Being able to eat and wanting to eat [2 different things]

Able to move about happily

Managing to access water bowls - make sure you have one near their resting areas so they don't have to walk too far if not feeing too good

Managing a cuddle or whatever affection They want

Being able to breathe when lying down

Not in any distress


You are going to get times where things aren't totally under control and you need to speak to your vet then to see whether it is a temporary crisis or a permanent state.


Most importantly obviously - is your beloved companion still enjoying life?



Mine have always let me know in some way or other that things are coming to an end - and once you've made that decision, there is an air of peace about them even if they are in pain. I think there is also a calmness within you that the decision is made, even though it's not the one you would like.


Yes in some ways we'd like them to go naturally - but actually going naturally can be extremely unpleasant for them, and a huge shock to us to find them suddenly gone.


So I've always felt it is better to let them go too soon, they don't suffer at all that way. Too many are left too long and that is just cruel and you feel guilty forever.

I always have the vet out to the house [put other dogs away] - have something very special for a treat - such as prawns or sausages - and have them lie across my lap on a towel and feed them the treat whilst the vet lets them go. This way it has always been peaceful. You can have time to say goodbye - and I always let the others say goodbye too so they don't look for them [will still grieve but not search which can be distressing].



Sadly some people seem to leave them too long - please if your dog cannot breathe if he or she is lying down, so is sitting up all the time, then get them straight to the vet to see if it is something that can be helped or if maybe it is time. :( I know it is very hard but so many times I've read posts of people leaving dogs like that for hours and I can only imagine how distressing it is for the poor dog.



Please know that you are all in my thoughts:flwr::flwr:, I hate that we have to face these battles with our beautiful dogs - we go in to the relationship knowing that they will not live forever - but you do feel cheated when you get less time with them than you hoped. All we can do is make the time together as special and precious as possible.

Nicki
17th June 2011, 05:57 PM
Pat thank you so much for your posts, I always learn so much from you and I know so many people benefit from your knowledge and experience :thmbsup:

Karlin
17th June 2011, 06:15 PM
Excellent post Nicki and very helpful.

It is so important for people to get dogs to a vet if they are struggling in any way, finding it hard to breathe, etc.

If someone is wondering 'should I contact/get to the vet' --please put it in the context of what any of us would do if you saw your child, partner or parent in such a condition, or if it was yourself -- a dog is in just as much and often more distress as a person would be, as they cannot ask to be taken in for help before it gets really terrible for them. Imagine hardly being able to breather or move for dscomfort -- any of us would get ourselves to the doctor.

Generally a vet can greatly relieve such distress. And any such time one is seeing a dog in any kind of struggle or distress is probably the point, as Nicki advises, to have that serious talk about whether it is kinder to let them go -- as she says it is far kinder to let them go a little earlier than having a painful and distressing collapse. For anyone where cost is an issue in continuing care for a dog really at its final stages, then I would definitely advise that conversation be had as it just is not fair to the dog to be kept hanging on in an uncertain state where it might not be possible to give the continued relief it needs through meds/ongoing vet care, and where its passing as a consequencne might be in real distress.

And also there is always the quality of life issue. If a dog has little to no real daily joy left in its life and is really just weakly hanging on, we have the responsibility to be as courageous as that dog and give relief. It is better for any loved companion to have a kind passing with the help of a vet, in the presence of the person who has loved them and vice versa, than for that cavalier to pass away in pain and struggle and panic.

Sydneys Mom
17th June 2011, 06:28 PM
Yesterday my anxiety really got to me. Today I'm better.

As for Sydney:


managing a short walk - even if it's only 5 minutes for the stimulation

today he raced through the yard barking and chasing the birds (how dare they come into his yard)


Being able to eat and wanting to eat [2 different things]

no problem with food (he will tap at the cabinet door to let me know he's hungry)



Able to move about happily

Still following me around


Managing to access water bowls - make sure you have one near their resting areas so they don't have to walk too far if not feeing too good /QUOTE]

I've had to raise his water bowl and food bowl as he was having a hard time bending down for it. Plus, he loves ice in his water, so I'm always adding that too.

[QUOTE]Managing a cuddle or whatever affection They want

He loves when I rub the inside of his ears. He just melts into my hand.


Being able to breathe when lying down .Not in any distress. You are going to get times where things aren't totally under control and you need to speak to your vet then to see whether it is a temporary crisis or a permanent state.


Whenever I've seen any type of problem, it's a call or visit to his dr. Luckily he hasn't had much distress and it's only been a temporary crisis.



Most importantly obviously - is your beloved companion still enjoying life?

YES! Even though some things have changed for him, he still enjoys being outdoors with us, giving kisses, mealtime, and a variety of other pleasures he has always enjoyed, but on a smaller scale.

No matter what the future brings, my number 1 goal is to always make sure Sydney is well taken care of and as long as I'm around he will not suffer. With the help of everyone's love and caring, I hope Sydney will be here a good long time. But I am realistic too.

Sydneys Mom
17th June 2011, 06:35 PM
If someone is wondering 'should I contact/get to the vet' --please put it in the context of what any of us would do if you saw your child, partner or parent in such a condition, or if it was yourself -- a dog is in just as much and often more distress as a person would be, as they cannot ask to be taken in for help before it gets really terrible for them. Imagine hardly being able to breather or move for dscomfort -- any of us would get ourselves to the doctor.



I completely agree Karlin. As soon as I start saying 'should I contact/get to the vet", I know I need to. I'd rather be safe than sorry. After all, we as owners are the one who must speak for our pets and let the vets know what is going on.