View Full Version : Coco - MVD

7th February 2012, 10:12 PM
I am not sure if you are aware, I was asked to foster a little Blenheim girl Coco (5 years) until another home could be found for her. A couple of
wonderful people who were more than suitable were willing to take her providing her health was ok.

After Coco was diagnosed with a grade 4/5 heart murmur, I took her to a Cardiologist. The following has been taken from his report.
" Coco has advanced degenerative mitral and tricuspid valve disease with marked mitral proplapse"

The cardiologist said her coughing was due to the left side of her heart being enlarged which is pressing on her trachea (windpipe).
Her heart strings (chordae tendineae) have also started to rupture, these act as guy ropes that connect the heart muscle to the heart valves. (I think!)

It would seem that she has had this for approximately three years and the chances are she may go into heart failure in the next 6-12 months.
I understand at this point she will be put on medication possibly something like vetmedin.

I have been reading Cavalier Health.org which has an excellent description of MVD http://www.cavalierhealth.org/mitral_valve_disease.htm

On top of this we have some serious issues with her teeth/gums and mouth. When Coco first came to us she had terrible "dog breath". We
changed her diet and solved that problem but she has severe gingivitis which has a significant health risk.
We have added Fragaria (homeopathic strawberry) to her water which will help towards softening the tartar.
The vet has asked me to monitor her heart rate and sleeping respiritory rate for one week, provding these are ok, we will probably go ahead and
have the gingivitis treated.

Meet Coco

http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7005/6837879145_5d4911d5e4_z.jpg (http://www.flickr.com/photos/32708555@N03/6837879145/)

http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7172/6837883927_800f1480a4_z.jpg (http://www.flickr.com/photos/32708555@N03/6837883927/)

Brian M
7th February 2012, 10:24 PM
Shes a beauty and so are you.

Kate H
7th February 2012, 10:36 PM
It is so unfair that a 5-year-old should have such serious heart problems. Simon Swift (the Cavalier Club's regular cardiologist) occasionally erupts about the state of Cavalier hearts - this disease should/could have been eradicated years ago. I entirely agree with him - Cavaliers shouldn't suffer like this, and Cavalier owners shouldn't have to have the heartbreak of watching their dogs die. Well done, Tania, for taking on Coco.

Kate, Oliver and Aled (and remembering Meg and Rowley, who died of MVD)

Sydneys Mom
7th February 2012, 10:52 PM
Bless you Tania for taking care of her. CoCo is an absolute beauty and does not deserve this horrible disease, especially at such a young age.

I started crying as I read the cardioligist report, it could have been written about Sydney. He's almost 12 years old and been on several heart medications for almost a year now.

7th February 2012, 11:17 PM
She is beautiful. Coco is lucky she has found you as you will give her the best care she could possibly ask for. You already have enough on your mind with your three; you are amazing to take Coco on.
I totally agree with Kate, our Cavaliers shouldn’t have to suffer with MVD like this.

8th February 2012, 04:16 PM
She's a stunning looking lady isnt she? How tragic that her "insides" arent as beautiful as her outside. At least she will be loved and cared for from now on.
Well done Tania

8th February 2012, 04:46 PM
Oh Tania, she is really lovely. Best of luck with her. They can surprise you sometimes.:)

8th February 2012, 04:56 PM
Simon Swift (the Cavalier Club's regular cardiologist) occasionally erupts about the state of Cavalier hearts - this disease should/could have been eradicated years ago.

He certainly does and 'erupts' about covers it! :)

On a serious note I totally agree with him and with what you say. MVD COULD be so much minimised, and yet remains a massive problem in ALL cavaliers, with vets and cardiologists -- including Simon Swift -- saying they see no difference between typical club rates of MVD and in cavaliers from unknown background, which means one thing: the vast majority of cavalier CLUB breeders still do NOT follow MVD breeding protocols. Those few breeders who do, have much better results -- consistently older dogs, that pass away at a much greater age (unlike the one or two "poster dogs" some breeders highlight, which are not their norm, and they know it).

The Irish Club does not even hold heart screenings at shows as is the norm around the world to at least try and encourage some breeders to test some dogs.

I do not get how anyone can breed outside the MVD protocol, directly contribute to this problem being endemic in the breed, and live with themselves.They can hardly never have had a dog suffer through this -- maybe they can just compartmentalise those dogs away and ignore it. The grief at losing any dog is bad enough, but to lose otherwise fit and healthy dogs, especially relatively young dogs, to a BREEDER PREVENTABLE health problem is tragic.

The fact that this issue endures year after year after year with so little done by breeders or clubs or national KCs is one of dog breeding's biggest scandals. Just holding low cost screenings -- at which most dogs screened are younger dogs more likely to be heart clear -- is not enough at an 'official' level.

Cardiologist screening of parents should be mandatory to register litters with the KC and to be a member of national breed clubs -- not an option in a breed so devastated by this disease!

8th February 2012, 04:57 PM
...Simon Swift (the Cavalier Club's regular cardiologist) occasionally erupts about the state of Cavalier hearts - this disease should/could have been eradicated years ago. ...

And, as he also points out, early-onset MVD could have been eradicated years ago if all cavalier breeders had begun following the MVD breeding protocol when it was introduced in the UK in 1996 and in the US in 1998.


8th February 2012, 05:30 PM
Coco is sensitive to touch, especially in the lumbar region because of this and she also yelped a few times, I took her to Dr. Clare Rusbridge who has confirmed the following:-

Coco has sligh Scoliosis with a tendancy to hold her head slightly down, she also has pelvice limb ataxia and mild paraparesis (weakness or partial paralysis in her lower limbs)
We have started Coco on Gabapentin 100mgms twice per day.

Coco is a lovely little dog, whoever owned her, spoilt her and clearly loved her.

It really is quite depressing. These poor Cavaliers are now at a crisis point and there seems to be no urgency to breed away from these devastating diseases.
The breeders should be made to health test, if they don't the Kennel should now refuse registration.

8th February 2012, 08:57 PM
It's so sad that this poor wee darling has so much to contend with :( :(

She is such a beautiful girl and is so lucky that she fell into your lives - I know she is already very much loved and treasured, especially for the naughty moments ;)

PS yes you are right about the chordae tendineae :)

10th February 2012, 06:52 AM
What a lovely little girl Coco is. I agree with everyone else that this shouldn't be happening to these wonderful little dogs, but too many people just breed for the sake of it without understanding or caring about the consequences that these dogs end up living with for the rest of their sometimes shortened lives.

At least Coco will be getting the care she now needs. Good luck with her...

10th February 2012, 08:02 AM
Oh what a doll you are Coco...and wow, good on you for taking this all on. Coco knows she is in good hands of a loving person. It breaks my heart...all of it, but the silver lining is that you have her, and she has you.
She is just gorgeous...what brought her into a foster situation?

12th February 2012, 03:35 AM
Thank you for taking care of her. She is such a beauty. I'm sorry she has so many issues. She is blessed to be in your care.