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Thread: HELP!! Advice needed please!!!

  1. #1
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    Default HELP!! Advice needed please!!!

    I have only been a member of this site for a few weeks but already I am over-whelmed by the wealth of expertise and love of the cav that is present here. So I need some sound advice, please.

    As some of you may know, I am currently fostering (since yesterday) a 5 year old tri-colour ex-puppy stud through Many Tears (South Wales). His name is Max (but he doesn't answer to it so I expect he didn't have a name and the rescue just called him Max). I call him Benson!! My parents were hoping to adopt him as they are looking for a cav having fallen in love with my Missy! Today I had to take him to the vet as his neutering wound was looking a bit 'gammy'. Sure enough, he has a wound infection, ear mites and worse of all a grade 5 heart murmur. Tonight, eating his dinner, he started coughing.

    Forgive me for ranting a little here folks but it just makes me soooo mad. He has been used for breeding with this murmur. All those puppies who are now precious fur babies to people will undoubtedly be affected. Worse, he is so skinny that his back bone and pelvic bones are sticking out!!! They couldn't even feed him properly! He has not a jot of muscle on him and when I walk him I have to carry him for a bit every 50 yards or so cos he is exhausted. His skin is also flaking due to his poor condition.

    The vet was understandably horrified. There are several people who have offered him a home but they don't know his circumstances yet. I have been told I can vet them. I want to keep him myself but my family are horrified as I have 2 dogs already. My parents, understandably, say they want a reasonably well dog for their first dog, but generously have said they will take him if noone else will (although I'm not sure if my dad is 100% behind that plan. He is a difficult man!!).

    What do I do????

    My gut says he is not going anywhere. I bought a beautiful cane dog bed that both mine ignore but, for some reason, he snores in happily. I have just qualified as a doctor so I can afford his medication. But, of course, I work. Mine are happy at home and get walked by a walker at lunchtime (and by me before and after work). But, maybe he needs someone who is home all day. I am so sad for him and so unsure what to do.

    Do I keep him for the year or 2 he may have left and risk the wrath of my family (anyone with an over-bearing mother will understand that one) or do I let him go?? Life!!! It is never simple!!!

  2. #2
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    Well first of all I would recommend getting the opinion of a cardiologist, not a vet, on that murmur grade. Vets often get grades wrong. Also you'd be better with a cardiologist's advice on treatment, probably -- a lot of vets do not seem to be very on top of different care strategies. An x-ray will also give you a sense of whether he has heart enlargement.

    He is almost certainly skinny because of his heart problem, not because he was underfed. Please don't walk him -- this is probably putting too much strain on him until he gets proper medications and recovers. He does not need exercise and it sounds like it is way too much of a strain on him. Just let him out to relieve himself and don't take him for walks. Did the vet put him on medication?

    I homed a high grade murmur dog to Aileen on the board and he has been doing really well for the past year with her. This was a dog I was told had perhaps weeks to live. So proper medications and care can make a big difference to longevity. With proper medications he could have many months or even years left.

    To be honest he may well be quite a bit older than is stated. Rescues often guess the age of dogs to begin with -- I consult with my vets to get an estimate myself -- and people who surrender dogs often lie and a puppy farm will certainly not have records of his age. Rescues often tend to estimate age downwards as estimating upwards makes a dog harder to home. So just be aware he could be older than he seems. Most likely the puppy farm gave him up precisely because he is ill and they were well aware of this.

    On a serious and more personal note: usually cavaliers regardless of illness will find homes through this rescue as so many cavalier lovers follow their listings, so if you or your parents do not feel able for this dog then I would definitely keep him advertised for homing and be honest with whoever takes him. I do not think I would ask your parents to take him -- they don't really sound as if this is what they want.

    I know many of us here would have no issue taking on a cavalier with heart issues for however long he would have left, assuming we were seeking a rescue -- often these are the most rewarding companions. And almost all of us will see out cavaliers with this condition eventually, unfortunately, as almost 100% get it by age 10 and 50% have it by age 5-6. So a health issue isn;t necessarily a horrible situation to take on. But this type of adoption is definitely not for everybody. He will need extra care, and thus might be better in a home with someone around during the day or at least for half days or so, and he really will need someone home as much as possible for an initial period of recovery and treatment. If you can get home midday to check on him etc, then this might work for you, especially if you can take some initial time off. I am of course referring just to the practical level of care, as there is a whole emotional dimension that only you can gauge for yourself.

    It is easy to get very attached to a foster and feel we are the only person that can give the right care -- this is natural, and when I find a dog I really like, I have to remind myself now and then that the world is full of good cavalier homes. So don;t take him because you fear he wouldn't find another home. He will. It's important to be honest with yourself and ask if this is something that you should and can do and whether you can provide the best home he could find. If the answer is yes, then go for it and make the adjustments to have him there.

    PS I am surprised that the original vet did not pick up the severe heart problems and some of these other problems as at the very least he should have checked the heart before surgery. He really should not have had neutering done if he is actually in such poor health and such low weight.
    Karlin
    Cavaliers: Jaspar Lily Tansy Libby Mindy
    In memory: Lucy Leo
    Cavalier SM Information site:www.smcavaliers.com

  3. #3
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    A plea and a reminder

    Everyone here will know how I go on and on and on about working ONLY with reputable breeders and paying that extra as necessary to get a puppy from a sound and trusted, KNOWN source, a show breeder who understands health testing, conformation and genetics.

    Dogs like poor Max are the reason why.

    In his lifetime, Max has no doubt fathered hundreds, and very likely thousands, of puppies. Those are the ones that get sold through brokers, petshops, 'meeting someone in a carpark', imported to the US as 'British champion lines' and sold through online sites etc. Or maybe someone listing dogs in the small ads, who says they bred them themselves -- and so it might seem when you go the the house, which might seema normal family house.

    Would you want a puppy from such a father? Knowing this is the condition he is in at this age?

    Sadly, Max will likely have passed early onset, severe MVD to almost all of those puppies, now loved family pets somewhere and probably facing the same grim future.

    And this is why people should NEVER casually breed their dogs! No matter how tempting to get 'just one litter', no matter how perfect you think your dog is. You could have a puppy from a dog like Max for years before his health would deteriorate and your dog could look fantastically healthy until then (so many times I hear from people intending to breed -- 'but my dog is in perfect health so I know his/her puppies would be really healthy'. **Not with a progressive condition like MVD -- you need to know the pedigree and family health history, and have heart tested parents and your own dog within the MVD guidelines.**

    If you have such a puppy, and breed him or her as an adult, you are passing this condition on, and on, and on...

    THis is precisely why MVD has such a foothold in the breed, why it is now impossible to fully eradicate, and why so many of us will lose our dogs years before their time should come -- people think they want just one litter because their dog is so nice, they want puppies just like him/her... whatever.

    * Please think before ever buying a puppy from an unknown or casual source. This supports a chain of cruelty!

    * Stick to reputable club affiliated breeders (not just with a national registration -- make sure they are ACTIVE in clubs and known to other reputable breeders and have a history of healthy dogs).

    * And please do not EVER breed yourself. If you want to show and breed, get involved with clubs, learn the ropes, find a mentor, and help cherish and preserve the breed.
    Karlin
    Cavaliers: Jaspar Lily Tansy Libby Mindy
    In memory: Lucy Leo
    Cavalier SM Information site:www.smcavaliers.com

  4. #4
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    Thanks ever so much Karlin. I think I am going to keep Max. I know what you said about feeling we are the only ones who can help when we foster!! I often feel that! But him coming to me sort of feels like fate. It was so difficult getting him here from the rescue. I didn't think he would ever come. I was really worried about it as I have never had a boy before but there has been no humping (!) and just a bit of weeing in the house. And next week I start my first medical job - in cardiology!!

    I have stopped walking him and I have made an appointment with a cardiologist for Friday. I will let you know what they say.

    And I agree with every word about breeding.

  5. #5
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    Theresa:

    Please keep us posted about Max. The stories of these rescues touch many of our hearts and we really do want to know how it all turns out. Bless you for getting him and either giving him a home or finding someone special to make a place for him in theirs.
    Phyllis in West Virginia USA with two Clumbers and a Cavalier Named Buddy

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    Oh my gosh, I am so sorry to hear about this poor little boy, you are right it makes me so angry too, My first cavalier was Siouxie I got her from a breeder who had just stopped breeding with her, we allready had her two sons Bracken and Jake and I fell in love with her, She had a grade 5 heart murmur too, she had been breed from so much her legs had become miss shaped (this was what the vet said could be) she had fleas and mites too, It was heart breaking, I was only 14 at the time I am 25 now and didnt know very much then, But we did take her to the best vet we could find at the time one we trusted and with the right treatment that little girl nearly made 13 and I loved still love her very much.

    I am sorry to go on but wanted to share, I know how your heart must go out to this little boy, And he really does need a loving home someone who Is willing to take the time to get his weight up slowly and nurse him back to as good health as they can, he needs the right heart treatment and with a cough he may even need something like frusemide IF he has fluid which I don't know if you mentioned.
    I maybe wrong but I thought you come from the UK like me? There are I think two good cardiologists around that I have heard of, Maybe more, My vets also grade heart murmurs I trust her so take her word for it, Though I know a cardiologist would be more accurate on this.

    I think as hard as it is in this case you should follow your heart, Do what you feel is right, It wouldn't be fair to listen to what others think and regret things this desion is yours.
    Vet bills can get very high as you must know It maybe worth getting him insured if you keep him, I use petplan couldn't have treated my cavalier Kaytee without it, (You have probably allready thought of this!)
    As you say you have a good job so you can support him, the biggest thing he needs is love right now and understanding, I hope you get to make a decision somehow and I truly wish you and him lots of luck.

    This little guy needs a mummy I am sure you would make a great one, Or if you decide not to good luck in finding someone, I wish I could give him a big hug.
    Take Care xxx

    PS I AGREE WITH YOU this probably is fate the angels bless us with these little angels somehow they know we will do our very best by them (Ive had two very poorly girls so far my first two) I am glad you made the appointment GOODLUCK xx

  7. #7
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    Thankyou so much Kaytee576 (!). That was such a supportive message.

    All day I have been worrying if I am doing him a disservice by keeping him as maybe someone else would take care of him better. It is impossible to know for sure either way but it has been plaguing me. In my job (doctor) I often have to do very long days and although I use a dog walker to make sure the dogs still get 3 walks a day, I worry that he won't be happy with this. Having said that, today I left them all day (with my walker coming in at lunch time) and they were fine (asleep all day probably!!!)

    I will let you know what the cardiologist says tomorrow. And I will give him a big hug from you!!!

  8. #8
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    Insurance taken out now will not cover any of his current health problems at any point -- that includes heart problems, obviously. You need to take out insurance before the dog has identifiable problems for those to be covered.

    I would argue that having a big heart is not necessarily enough to take care of a seriously ill dog and that a responsible person needs to use their head more than their heart in a situation like this, especially if it is likely that someone will regularly need to work extra hours, and long hours. If the dog has a serious problem when no one is there, it will suffer, and may die in a situation where a simple intervention could have helped. If no one is there daily for 8-12 hours, this would be a very compromising situation for an ill dog in advanced stages of heart failure.

    I will be blunt and say that if I had a dog with these problems in rescue, I would not home to where it would have nobody around all day except a midday dogwalker (who shouldn't be placed in the situation of having to take emergency decisions, which is a likely outcome eventually). He also is probably never going to be able for three walks a day -- he can't just be brought out with the others. This isn't a judgement on the person or how caring they are, it is simply proper responsibility taken for the dog itself. This is a dog that needs a stay at home person around during the day and someone who isn't routinely going out in the evenings. In other words probably an older family situation or a retired person or couple with experience of managing this breed's health issues. It is very hard for someone who is young with a fresh career and a younger person's social life to manage a dog that really needs someone around as much as possible. If he lives for 5 years, that is five years of a limited social life so there are serious personal implications for taking full responsibility for a dog like this.

    I would go back and talk to the rescue and also talk to a cardiologist on the care implications before making decisions and seriously consider how a dog like this will be managed and if it is fair on the dog involved. Quite seriously, he simply cannot be left alone for 8-12 hour stretches and no one there; as a doctor I am sure you would see this would be the case with a very ill human patient and could never advocate an ill child left on its own for 8 hours plus -- and at least a person can tell you if something is worsening; a dog requires actual *observations* by the responsible owner -- if his main caretaker is hardly around it makes it very hard to observe any changes or problems if his health starts to decline. Also his medication will likely need to be administered more frequently than that.

    For a sense of what is involved, read this:

    http://board.cavaliertalk.com/showthread.php?t=9214
    Karlin
    Cavaliers: Jaspar Lily Tansy Libby Mindy
    In memory: Lucy Leo
    Cavalier SM Information site:www.smcavaliers.com

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    As much as I hate to admit it, I think you are probably right Karlin. I have spoken to the rescue and we are going to find an experienced cavvie owner who is home all day. I am still going to take him to the cardiologist tomorrow, even though I am not keeping him, so that we have a better understanding of his condition. Also so that he can get started on some medications to make him feel more comfortable. His breathing is not too bad (though he does snore!) but occasionally it becomes very rapid and I think he may be flipping into atrial fibrillation at these times. I would absoloutely feel dreadful if something happened to him while I was at work so I know this is the right decision (though I am crying as I write this!)

    When I am retired I will have a thousand rescued cavvies!!!

    By the way, the social thing is not an issue as I'm 35 (done it!) and I am a single mother to a 14 yr old daughter! So, like most mothers, I don't have a social life!! I just talk to you lot instead!!!

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    Theresa, you are very brave and it's so good of you to be taking Max to the cardiologist tomorrow. I'm sure you've fallen for him big-time too, and I admire you looking at the overall picture.

    If he does go up for re-homing through Many Tears, knowing what you and the rescue know about his health and the cost and care implications, I would say it's guaranteed that he will only get the very best home, who appreciate exactly what they're getting into. I'd have him in an instant if I didn't have 6 already and had the money to pay for the meds, which are likely to top £100 a month in time.

    Poor, poor dog. . Often people only thinking about the poor ex-breeding bitches, but those puppy farm stud dogs have suffered so much too. The cold, the wet, the boredom. I've been told many times not to reflect on Bradley's past (he's a M/T puppy farm stud dog rescue too), but I can't fail to acknowledge and break my heart over his previous life. He is such an intelligent cavalier - what a waste of most of his life.

    We were lucky with Brad. We suspect he's older than the 4-5 years we were told he was at the time, but he didn't have a murmur, so we insured him straight away. 18 months on, he does have a murmur, so we made a wise choice.

    Good luck in whatever you decide to do.



    One of my boys is 7 and has had a 5-6 murmur for the past 20 months. He is better in the winter than the summer and we know he's on borrowed time, but he's still here . He gets walks when conditions and his health allow - but it's a matter of gauging the weather, how much he's coughing, how energetic he's feeling etc. He's not allowed to go anywhere in the summer - vets' orders. Having said that he is the happiest dog in the world, so that's all that matters.
    Proud member of The Spaniel Trust - putting the trust back into spaniels.
    A Charity registered in Scotland SC038987

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