View Full Version : Grace has Mvd

23rd August 2012, 11:44 PM
i am new to this forum. My cavalier Grace has had a murmur for a couple of years but was recently dx with CHF. We have gone throu a month and a half of vet and specialist visits and medication adjustments. She was given enalapril and furosemide and then added to spironolactone. These could not keep away fluid buildup and yesterday she was put on vetmedin. Today she is showing much imProvement. I am hoping this will keep her stable for some time. Has anyone had a similar experience or any advice? VHF came on quickly and seemed to be resistant to diuretics and ace inhibitor alone. I worry this means she doesn't have much time left.

24th August 2012, 12:12 PM
Hi Laura01 -- So sorry this unfortunate and difficult process is underway for you. sadly time is generally limited when they reach CSF -- I think the timeframe is generally considered to be within 6-9 months after they start Vetmedin. BUT there are exceptions -- I have a rescue dog, Susie, of mine homed with a neighbour, that has been on a cocktail including Vetmedin for well over a year. Spironolactone really helps some dogs -- it gave several extra months to my dog Lucy -- but doesn't seem to do much for others (Susie). Meanwhile on recommendations from some here I put Susie on Moduret, an old-style diuretic for heart conditions, and that helped with fluid retention in her belly when others did not. Cardiologists can really help by adjusting meds from time to time. Susie I thought had reached her time about two weeks go, but increasing her frusimide got her going again. She has been amazing and long outlived what my vet and I expected giving her high grade murmur when she came to rescue 3 years ago. :)

www.cavalierheath.org has tons of detailed info on managing MVD which is very helpful.

There's only so much that can be done though once CHF arrives and sounds like you are getting good advice to manage Grace as best as possible. It's important not to let them get over-excited and I'd block stairs and so on at this stage. My Lucy would collapse if she got excited or ran up stairs so I really had to manage her (very short) walks and kept a babygate across the stairs at top and bottom.

I'm sure others will have advice as almost all of us will deal with this with our cavaliers eventually and so many of us have one down this road with our dogs.

24th August 2012, 02:17 PM
Laura01, your description of Grace's improvement with Vetmedin sounds quite typical for many dogs in CHF. It sounds like she is in good veterinary hands. She may not have a lot of time left, but Vetmedin could enable her to have a much better quality of life for much of the rest.

Our favorite vet -- a DVM who practices holistic -- says that at the end stage of any terminal disease, an important goal is to give the dog as high a quality of life as possible, and that when the end finally arrives, the decline happens quickly, and not as a long, slow process.

So, I suggest that you and Grace enjoy her time left. She may survive this way for many months, but she may not. I'd appreciate you keeping us updated on her condition from time to time. Also, you might take a look at a blog "written" by a cavalier in CHF. She -- her name was Darcy -- reported almost daily on her condition, her activities, her cardiologist's advice and prescriptions, and how she was responding to her treatment. The link is here -- http://darcysdaily.blogspot.com/ -- and I recommend you start reading from the earliest entry through to her passing. She wrote it for about six months before she died.

24th August 2012, 02:24 PM
Hi Laura, I'm sorry to read about Grace. I have Trapper who is in CHF and was given a prognosis of 6 months in June 2011, and Im happy to say he's still with us well over a year later. He is on a cocktail of drugs too, with no walks, and we try to keep him excitement-free which isn't easy as he loves to hear the door bell ring which might mean the arrival of someone to make a fuss of him :)
If he gets overexcited or runs in from the garden sometimes he will collapse for about 30 seconds, then he gets up and acts as if nothing happened.
Trapper loves life and is living it to the best of his abilities, so try not to worry too much, even with this diagnosis it's possible that Grace will have a good quality of life for a while yet.

24th August 2012, 02:34 PM
at the end stage of any terminal disease, an important goal is to give the dog as high a quality of life as possible, and that when the end finally arrives, the decline happens quickly, and not as a long, slow process.

That's a great summary of what to aim for. And as soon as that real decline begins, I'd add, to be honest in recognising it and to let a beloved dog go gently with the help of a caring vet before the dog is seriously distraught and suffering. I firmly believe it is far kinder to release an animal slightly before what might be their 'ultimate' time than to wait and risk putting them through serious pain and trauma. It means watching them carefully and honestly and the line may be different for different people, but when you are really looking at only days, thee's real kindness in letting them go gently without the risk of the crisis that can happen if left too late. :flwr:

Shirley -- I can't remember but have you tried adding spironolactone? This totally stopped Lucy's collapses for about 4-5 months til she was really at the very end of her life.

Sydneys Mom
24th August 2012, 03:58 PM
Hi Laura and welcome to the board. Sorry to hear that Grace has MVD. I know how tough it is to hear that diagnosis. We love our little ones so much and want to do everything we can to keep them happy and comfortable. My Sydney, who just passed away in April, was on the same medications as Grace, plus a few more. He did really well for quite awhile. It sounds as if you are getting good advice from your vet. What helped me was reading the discussions here and knowing I was not alone. The support here is amazing and there are so many knowledgeable people here to help you understand.

Please keep in touch and let us know how Grace is getting along. How old is she? Would love to see some pictures too!

24th August 2012, 05:16 PM
Hi Karlin, yes Trapper has been taking this for quite a while now.

24th August 2012, 05:27 PM
That's what I thought; I was pretty sure we'd discussed it! :)

24th August 2012, 09:04 PM
Laura, I am sorry to hear of Grace I know how devastating it can be.

My Harry passed in March but he had started Vetmedin around a couple of YEARS prior. We had a few bad days when I would give up hope and think it would be time, but he wouldn't and he would do a complete 360 and be his normal happy self. He completely astounded us and our vet. They are little fighters. So try and put any life span statistics your specialist may give you to the back of your mind because we are all different and love every second together. It sounds like Grace has responded really well already.

Hugs to you both xxxx

26th August 2012, 02:56 PM
Thank you everyone for your kind words. Since starting the vetmedun on Wednesday things have been up and down. Thursday she was very hungry for the first time in weeks. She has more energy and seemed like her old self. By Friday evening her respiratory rate was fast again and another trip to the vet was made and she was given an injection of furosemide under the skin. This seemed to help and she was more playful again and eating still on Saturday. It is Sunday morning and her respiratory rate is a little high again. I am watching real close and the vet gave me a syringe with a small dose of furosemide if needed. Hopefully we will not need it. I am trying to be patient and wait for the vetmedun to fully kick in. Not sure how long that takes. I am hoping the struggle with the fluid will resolve itself when vetmedun kicks in. The specialist did decrease her dose of spirinolactine by half on Wednesday because she seemed to be reacting to it. Has anyone had a similar exp? Also the vet mentioned if we can't keep fluid off may need to increase furosemide to 3x per day 12.5 mg each dose. I believe this may be the tip of the dose. I am just praying vetmedun starts gel