Pippin and his scan
Pippin had a scan done last week. His MVD has worsened a little with the faulty valve on the left side but the heart itself seemed fine on that side and rhythm is stable enough.
We noticed lately that when he is sleeping he doesn't seem comfy or settled, he'll get up move around change place or position and sleep in the most strange positions too, it had eased a little with the cooler weather but still was ongoing and he can be quite exercise intolerant at times. He is already on vetmedin, which we were told is keeping things stable enough with the valve, but the scan showed quite a significant heart enlargement on the right side, which we were told is a worse scenario than if it were the left side.
He is not in full CHF but the vet feels from symptoms and the size of the enlargement that he is heading into it so has started him on a low dose of a medication called Cardalis.
He is due back for check-up in 3 weeks and re scan in 6 months. We have been told to still let him enjoy his short walk daily and just to watch out for any new symptoms especially a cough and not too worry too much as once he is monitored it can be managed even if he still goes into CHF.
I will stay positive and treat him the same as always, he hasn't changed, the next day I turned my back for a minute and found him rolling toilet tissue all over the bathroom
I do feel sad that he is heading for worsening of symptoms and worry how I will cope when that happens.
My poor little forever puppy, we call him that because he is small and always into mischief!
You wrote: I...worry how I will cope when that happens. I nursed one of my Cavaliers in CHF for 18 months, and I think you will find, as I did, that you are totally focused on keeping your dog as comfortable as possible and don't have a thought to spare as to whether you are coping or not. I found that I did a lot of my grieving for Meg as I sat up with her in the early hours of the morning several times a week, cuddling her while we waited for her medication to kick in and stop her gasping for breath. Three hours later she was ambling out into the garden and enjoying warm chicken for her breakfast! As long as she was enjoying life, even with its limitations, I just worked hard to keep her happy, comfortable and loved. It was very clear when she couldn't go on any longer; she couldn't lower her head to drink and gave me a look that clearly said 'Mum, I can't go on, do something', so I have never doubted that the time was right to help her on her way - she died within a few seconds of the injection because her heart had simply given out. So I'm sure that you too will find the strength to do whatever is needed for Pippin and the wisdom to know when the fight is over.
Kate, Oliver and Aled
I agree with everything Kate said. You have the strength because he needs you and you do it not because you have to, but because you love him and want to. It is difficult at times, but I never let Sydney see me cry. We still went on walks, but as his CHF got worse, the walks got shorter and shorter until we bought him a wagon. Since Sydney was my first dog, I never understood when people said, "don't worry, when it's time, he will tell you". The thing is, he did tell us, in lots of little ways, but mostly with his eyes.
I'm so sorry that Pippin has MVD. With the right combinations of medicine, he can be managed quite comfortably for a while. It seems as though you have a good relationship with your vet which is good. The follow up exams are important and I know you will do everything you can to help him.
I'll keep you all in my thoughts. :hug:
Thank you both so much Kate and Joyce for your kind words. Pippin will be treated as near to normal as possible and I am sure he will guide me as to his needs as time goes on and somewhere I will find the strength to deal with whatever comes.
He has his two pals here with him Gus and DJ although Gus is getting old now, almost 12, but Pippin has slept in with him at night since he came to us as a pup over 9 years ago and DJ, our rescue boy sleeps in a bed right next to them:) So when I go upstairs to sleep at night and they are in the kitchen I know he has company...
Also I have been diagnosed with a muscle disorder of my back and neck recently and Fibromyalgia so for the moment cannot work, so I don't have to go to work and leave him.
Wonderful posts with good advice. I would echo them 100%. The hardest thing is sometimes to be honest with ourselves when the time seems to have come. It isn't always really clear, but getting advice from those who have gone through this, and working with a trusted vet/cardiologist, truly makes a huge difference. I trust my wonderful vets, and know I can ask "what would you do now?" and know they will tell me honestly when they feel it is time, or still worth trying something else. My Lucy lived abut 9 months with CHF, which I suppose is typical. We had many things to try that helped along the way. With Susie, a rescue I homed to a neighbour, she was managed well with a serious grade murmur for over 3 years!! She just went on and on. It is hard to predict timescales but three years was very unusual -- my vets called her the miracle dog. :)
Susie and Lucy were quite different in how they experienced MVD and CHF as well. So it is hard to give more than general guidance. As particular symptoms start to arise, that is the point at which it is easier to give more specific suggestions.
Rod has great, detailed info at www.cavalierhealth.org
A small point - as Pippin's CHF progresses you might want to have him sleeping in your bedroom so that if his breathing does deteriorate in the night you are aware of it and can give him medication to help. You simply won't hear him from downstairs.
Kate, Oliver and Aled
Thank you Kate, I will do that :)
Karlin Thank you for your reply. At the moment Pippin seems more settled on the Cardalis, when he sleeps he is more settled he slept on the sofa beside me today for over an hour and never changed place or position, he has a little more energy on his walk too, he only does 10 mins but is not getting out of breath as much, and is still his naughty little self, barking in the front window with DJ at the moment, while Gus sleeps:)
My vet is very good too and works with us very well, she has told us this is hard to gauge time wise as every animal is different and with Pippin it is early days with regard to CHF, but she feels he still has a long way to go yet. I do trust her too, to tell us when we do come to the time when we need to say enough is enough.
It's hard looking at him now to think that day will come, but that is the meds working, anyone looking on would think at times there is nothing wrong with him. Our vet has monitored him very well and has told us that we look after him and watch him so closely that we are bound to notice any change in him no matter how subtle.
I do hope it will be an easy road for him....