View Full Version : How Sydney is doing..

Sydneys Mom
21st September 2011, 05:25 PM
As many of you know, I wrote about Sydney having to be rushed to the ER 2 months ago. The reason for this emergency was his body wasnít getting enough oxygen and his abdomen was filling with fluids again. Also, he had a very severe staph infection all over his body. My opinion is that he couldnít fight both heart disease and the staph infection and that his body decided it had enough. The funny thing is, he came and alerted us to this in a way he only does in distress and I firmly believe that even though his body gave up his mind didnít and thatís why he is still here today.

He has had a marked improvement since then, still having good days and bad days, but the good days seem to have outnumbered the bad. His energy level has increased, his appetite has always been good, but it seems like heís enjoying his food more rather than just eating.

On the down side, he has had a somewhat bad week. I am seeing things Iím a little concerned and worried about. In another post, I wrote how he was having trouble with is hind legs when trying to stand. Itís more than just slipping on the hard floors now. I have taken precautions with towels and throw rugs to keep him as safe as I can. Just recently, he is actually having trouble moving his legs to stand, even on carpeting. The other day I had to boost him up as his rear legs couldnít do it. After walking around for awhile, his front left leg seemed to pull up and jerk around. It was like he had no control of its movements. He wasn't able to get that leg down to walk. He was in a perplexed state (as was I) as to why this was happening. It took about an hour before all was normal again. However, I can see that there are still problems going on with the rear legs. I also hear a scraping sound sometimes when he walks as though he is dragging is paw on the pavement. The other thing is that, for no reason I could tell, he vomited several times last week.

We are going to the cardiologist on Friday for his 2 month check up and I will bring up these issues. Not sure if any of them are related to his heart. He does have arthritis down the length of his spine, so the leg problems could be related to that.

Sorry for the long post. Wish us luck on Friday.

21st September 2011, 05:58 PM
I've been thinking of you and sydney. I am pleased to hear that the good has outweighed the bad. I can't give you any words of advice but it seems like you are asking all the right questions and with the bad week, I'm sure you are glad to see the cardiologist Friday.

I will be thinking of you :)

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21st September 2011, 07:38 PM
Thinking of you and wishing you all the best for friday xx

Kate H
21st September 2011, 10:17 PM
Oliver has spondylosis (osteoarthritis) in his spine - though only in about 3 vertebrae at the top (almost directly over his small syrinx!). The first symptoms of this were very wobbly back legs. With strict bed rest, he now has no problems, though I am always aware that his spine is vulnerable (no more squeezing under gates or climbing sand dunes!). I think you need to talk to your vet about it - and perhaps give him some crate rest in the meantime? If he's got these problems it may not be terribly good for him to keep trying to walk. Cavaliers are also quite prone to disc problems. I've only known these walking difficulties coming from heart problems in the last stages of congestive heart failure, and it doesn't sound as if Sydney is quite at that stage yet. So perhaps worth looking at bones as well as heart?

Hope you get it sorted - whatever is causing it!

Kate, Oliver and Aled

21st September 2011, 10:27 PM
You certainly are having a rough time of it. Just wanted to let you know we're thinking of you and sending positive healing thoughts your way. I hope everything gets sorted with the cardiologist and you get some answers for Sydney and yourself.:l*v:

21st September 2011, 10:33 PM
Oh I am thinking of you and Sydney!! I have no advice on the medical side as other are much more suited to help you with that, but I just wanted to let you know that Brooklyn and I are thinking of Sydney and sending our love his way!! Big paw hugs to you both and I hope you find some answers/advice soon.:hug:

21st September 2011, 10:35 PM
Be thinking of you on Friday. I think Kate is right that his legs are more to do with his back/discs?

Sydneys Mom
21st September 2011, 10:58 PM
Thanks for all your kind words and good wishes. Sydney is having a really low-key day today....I guess he's just not feeling well. I agree, Kate, it just might be his back. He doesn't seem to be in pain, but maybe he just doesn't show it. I just know when he's not feeling right. He's not walking around alot, just in and out of the house to take care of business.

He has been having accidents lately. :( It seems to happen while he is in a sound sleep and he doesn't even know its happening. If he is awake, he makes it to the door to go out. He gets up 2-3 times a night to pee and is drinking a lot of water. I know its from the diuretics and other heart medication he takes. Another thing to bring up to the cardiologist.

All in all, Sydney is still having a happy tail wagging life. :l*v: I'll update after his appointment on Friday.

21st September 2011, 11:00 PM
Hi Joyce,

I wish you and Sydney luck on his check-up on friday , you will be in our thoughts.......

Take care

Sharon and Scooby XXX

22nd September 2011, 03:02 AM
Oh goodness, sweet Sydney! So much going on. My brothers dog developed Degenerative Myelopathy which affected things like back leg function. She was not in pain, and had bladder control issues (many times seeming put off that she had peed herself in her sleep).

You might want to consider a belly band for the urine incontinence (have a friend who used them with female pads)

I'll be thinking of you and saying a prayer on Friday. Hugs to you Joyce!

Sydneys Mom
22nd September 2011, 03:19 AM
Oh goodness, sweet Sydney! So much going on. My brothers dog developed Degenerative Myelopathy which affected things like back leg function. She was not in pain, and had bladder control issues (many times seeming put off that she had peed herself in her sleep).

You might want to consider a belly band for the urine incontinence (have a friend who used them with female pads)

I'll be thinking of you and saying a prayer on Friday. Hugs to you Joyce!

I actually bought him a belly band but don't have the heart to put it on him. I guess I'd rather just wash his bed every day!

22nd September 2011, 04:27 AM
You two have weathered so much! I know leg issues like that can be related to or caused by various issues...and I hope the cardiologist can at least point you in right direction. Poor guy is so sweet and ao hope you can help help him work through these challenges too. Hugs to you and kisses to Sydney.

22nd September 2011, 08:03 PM
So sorry Sydney is having a rough time :( Wishing you all the best for tomorrow.

most of them accept those belly bands really well - alternatively you could try the incontinence pads sold for people or large pee pee pads in his bed - I think you can get fabric machine washable ones too, would save you from washing the whole bed?

22nd September 2011, 11:46 PM
Any update on Sydney??

Sydneys Mom
23rd September 2011, 12:27 AM
Thanks for checking back Debra. Sydney's legs seem better today, but then again, he's not running around either. The more I think about it the more I think the leg issue has to do more with his spine/disc/arthritis and not his heart issues. We see the cardio tomorrow afternoon so we shall see then.

23rd September 2011, 03:51 AM
I hear you Joyce, about the belly band. My sweet Nash (non Cav) developed cancer, and the tumor caused incontinence. We could never bring ourselves to do the belly band thing.

I used old towels etc, in his bed, and the large laundry room where he stayed if we were gone. I did a lot of laundry during that time, but I would do it all again in a New York second.

Saying lots of prayers for your appt. tomorrow. (hug)

Sydneys Mom
24th September 2011, 03:09 AM

Cardiology appt. went excellent. The doctor was thrilled and surprised that he has done so well during the past 2 mos. Heart rate was great! Did an echocardiogram.....NO fluid in his abdomen, lungs, or around his heart!b*n*n* As for the incontintence issue, it could be a bladder infection or just from the diuretics, but she is running a complete blood panel just to check his levels. He also lost another pound which is a concern so meds may have to be adjusted. He also has lost some muscle mass which is also to be expected.

The other thing that happened today, is that Sydney has had a fatty tumor on his neck for a few years that we have been watching. Earlier this week, I noticed some crusty blood in the area. So today, the cardiologist suggested I take him to the regular vet to have that checked out, which I did. The tumor had burst, so now he has a yucky looking hole in his neck :yuk: and is on antibiotics again. But at least it is nothing major to worry about now.

As far as the weakness in the back legs is concerned, we don't know exactly what it is and she said to speak to his regular vet about that, which I did. We are in a wait and see pattern with that. Both doctors said it may be focal seizures. The blood test is the first step for diagnosis. The other is MRI, which, because of the anesethesia issues with his heart, he can't have. So for right now, we are in a wait and see holding pattern. Given his age and other health issure, we will, most likely, just carefully watch him and make sure he is not in any distress or pain. Should get the results of the blood tests either tomorrow or Monday.

All in all, with his heart being the major issue, the news was MUCH better than expected and I am thrilled.

24th September 2011, 03:53 AM
You are so right that heart is the big issue and the other things can be addressed with time and treatment. You both have such a great attitude!

24th September 2011, 04:17 AM
I'm so relieved the appointment went well. I know sydneys heart is the biggest concern so that is wonderful news.

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24th September 2011, 08:05 AM
This is wonderful news, I am so happy for sweet Sydney. There is a lot to deal with, but you are doing so well and I am thrilled about his heart. What a trooper. Sydney goes through so much, but just takes it in stride...bless him :)

Sydneys Mom
26th September 2011, 05:09 PM
Well, we got the results of all the blood work done on Friday. His liver value has almost doubled which is not horrible but not good either. We will continue to keep an eye on that. The other levels were all in the normal ranges, except for the digoxin.

This one is the most concerning one as his digoxin level has doubled and is now over the high/normal range. As this can be toxic, we are reducing his digoxin and next week we will do another blood test. I'm really worried about this and this affects his kidneys. The way I understand it, is that we may be close to being at a point where we can keep his heart going strong at the expense of other organs. :(

26th September 2011, 06:10 PM
It is so hard when medications for one thing start to have bad effects on other issues. I know very little about all of this, but I sure hope the vets can find a way to help Sydney keep plugging along. Sending you a big hug... for you and Sydney.

Brian M
26th September 2011, 08:59 PM

Stay strong Joyce, and you as well Sydney my girls are watching you and you two
are doing so well.cavtinycavtinycavtinycavtiny:)

26th September 2011, 09:31 PM
Hello Joyce. Our prays for you and Sydney. Be strong. Sydney is getting the best care possible and she knows that too. You are so lucky to have each other.

Karen and Ruby
26th September 2011, 10:20 PM
Hi Joyce,

Jus catching up on this thread- its like a rollercoaster of reading.

All medications have some sort of side affects and when you are dealing with one thing that is your main concern you have to just concentrate on what you are fighting against!!

I know that Ruby being on Metacam all the time will effect her badly in the future but foor now it means she can enjoy her life as she should ( she has SM).

Im sorry your good news has been clouded but pleased that his heart in in better shape than you anticipated! Big hugs for little Sydney :l*v:

26th September 2011, 10:24 PM
Oh Joyce, I am so sorry to hear all of this. It is a tough road you and Sydney are on, but he is such a fighter it amazes me. I am thinking of you and praying really hard for Sydney...and for you too. I cannot imagine the ups and downs.
Keep us posted. We are here for anything you need!!
Hugs :hug: from me and Brooky

27th September 2011, 03:08 AM
Joyce, I am so sorry to hear all this. I know you will do all you can for your precious Sydney.

It's hard when the very drugs that are helping in one area can cause problems in another. Is there no other drugs for the heart that can be used that won't cause the same organ damage?

27th September 2011, 05:43 PM
I am just catching up on this thread now. I would guess that you have already talked to the cardiologist, but all the things you are describing (in your original post) are actually really common with advanced level heart disease. there really isn't much you can do about the issues with incontinence–the best approach is to give the diuretics at least an hour before bedtime and then take him out a couple of times before to try and empty out his bladder. Some dogs have a much harder time with this than others, and it doesn't help that by the time many have MVD at symptomatic level, the dogs are elderly, they can often have weak bladders anyway. You can get special incontinent pants for elderly dogs, and those might help keep him more comfortable by keeping his bedding dry and so on.

The hind leg weakness though is very typical of this horrible heart condition. Again, I don't think there's very much you can do.

There is more information on symptoms here: http://cavalierhealth.org/mitral_valve_disease.htm#Symptoms

A small excerpt:

Cavaliers with murmurs of between Grade 3 and Grade 6 may display episodic weakness of the hindquarters, ataxia, or collapse, which is called presyncope, or combined with loss of consciousness, which is called syncope, due to a sudden decline in blood flow to the brain. See Syncope (http://cavalierhealth.org/syncope.htm) for a discussion of this disorder and its causes.

My Lucy was very wobbly on her hind legs in the final months of her MVD. She also had collapsing episodes, which were pretty much always directly related to some moment of sudden excitement or exertion. I was quite careful about not putting her into situations where this would happen in as much as I could.

It's great that you have had a good response to getting that fluid out of Sydney's abdomen and hopefully he will remain far more comfortable and happy now for a good long while. :) I hope you are able to manage the side effects that can come from the other drugs. It is very hard sometimes to know which direction to take and sometimes it becomes an issue of managing for as long as you can keep a very much loved companion comfortable, and recognizing the point at which they need their rest. Closely working with your cardiologist will help you to know where you are in this process and what options remain available. As MVD progresses, sadly the options typically begin to run out. We are lucky in so many ways that there are a good range of medications that can keep them comfortable for many months after congestive heart failure sets in –But at the same time these can have problematical side effects too :(.

Lucy didn't have side effects of this type with her medications, but it totally broke my heart every day to see her heart disease progressing, because in every other way she was very active and healthy and except for the curse of this disease in this breed, she should easily have lived for several more years. Every day I could see her confusion at not being able to do things she expected to be able to do. It would have been easier for me if she had been less robust in every other way because this just underlined the tragedy of this condition. By contrast, I walk an elderly neighbor's very elderly collie who has had a heart murmur for several years now and it doesn't affect his quality of life at all. He is approaching 16 years of age–which is wonderful for him, but sometimes just emphasized to me how relatively young we lose our Cavaliers to this condition.

It is very hard when they get to this quite advanced stage–all I can say is, many of us have been there and know exactly what you are going through and understand how heartbreaking and stressful this is.

Sydneys Mom
27th September 2011, 06:29 PM
Thank you Karlin for your very well thought out response. I appreciate your sharing Lucyís story with me as I am sure it is still painful for you.

I have discussed all these issues with the cardiologist and his regular vet. Weíve decreased the dose of digoxin for now and next week we will do another blood test to see if the level has come down. Our cardiologist is great but sometimes hard to get in touch with for some minor questions. However, I also have a great vet and both doctors keep in touch so many times the vet can answer some of my minor questions and she will defer to the cardiologist for the more serious and complicated ones.

It is very hard when they get to this quite advanced stageĖall I can say is, many of us have been there and know exactly what you are going through and understand how heartbreaking and stressful this is.

I am finding this very hard. Firstly and foremost is because this disease is progressing and no amount of medication will ever cure it, and it only make Sydney comfortable. Secondly, Sydney is an only dog and is my first dog, so watching my beloved pet age is a new experience for me and not knowing what to expect with MVD is hard. My heart breaks on a daily basis. I do miss the long walks we use to take, but we do take short 5 min. walks which he enjoys. He is still barking at the birds and sniffing around the yard. He gets excited for food and eats it all. But he also sleeps a lot, and thatís OK too.

Thanks for the link to Cavalier Health. I have been there many times and there is always something there I missed the previous times. This is a constant learning experience.

28th September 2011, 11:33 PM
Oh Joyce. I am so sorry this is so hard for you to go through...and for Sydney too. I cannot imagine. A first dog makes everything that much harder too because I don't think we ever realise just how much they will affect our lives when we first bring them home.

Stay strong and we are always here for you