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Thread: Luka heart problem

  1. #1
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    Default Luka heart problem

    Hi

    I posted last week about Luka's ( aged 2.5) heart murmer which was picked up at the vets. I saw a cardiologist on Wednesday and she confirmed the worst. He has a leakage accross the mitral valve. I was expecting this having gained so much information from this site and others experiences. But its still very upsetting.

    I watch his every move and I am sure I am transmitting some worry vibe to him He looks so glum and wont let me out of his sight. So I must get a grip.

    I have read lots of postings about other peoples experiences and have gained some comfort. Every case is different I know but I feel that I need to look to the more optimistic stories that will give me hope that it is not an immediate death sentence.

    The cadiologist said that he was a 4 on some condition scale (not sure what this was, does anyone else know?) and that is close to perfect in that he was slighty underweight. She also confirmed that regular off lead excercise was vital. She wasnt overly encouraging when it came to supplements such as co q10 but did advise fish oil. Said the former wouldnt hurt though.

    Thanks again for all your responses to previous posts. I really enjoy looking on the sight.

    Sue

  2. #2
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    so sorry, I hope that Luka will be okay. I remember reading someones posting about a fairly young dog, like 5 or something that had been diagnosed with a grade 4 murmur and lived a very normal long life...like was 13 or something. Can't remember the details. I am sure the scary sad stories get posted more often than the good ones. When things are fine, people tend to just go about their way without saying much, but it is when things are bad or scary that they post and want advice or reasurrance. I think this is why you read so much bad and very little encouraging. Hopefully others with encouraging words will post.

  3. #3
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    I agree, I had a maltese with advanced MVD. It's distressing and difficult, I know, but my Princess lived 12 years, did very well on medication and had an excellent quality of life.

    It is far from a death sentence, with proper treatment Luca will be just fine, and will be as happy and active as ever.

    Take care
    Jen and Ilsa

  4. #4
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    My Sophie (5 years) has a grade 3 heart murmur. She is on 10mg Lasix once a day and 5mg Enalapril twice a day. We've noticed in the last few months that she has really slowed down. But then sometimes she will run and play like a pup.
    Sadie (5 years) has mitral valve prolapse. No medications.

    I know the shock you feel. The need for information. Every few weeks I'm looking for clinical trials to enroll them in. I am sorry that Luka is going through this. Thank goodness that you know and are able to give the best care. I wonder how many dogs have heart problems and the owners dont know.
    God bless ...
    Margi~
    Mommy to Sophie (5yo/B&T), Sadie (5yo/Blen)
    & Tucker (3yo/B&T)

  5. #5
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    Hi, just found the thread about Luka, must be a real worry, but try to stay positive, like was mentioned in a previous post not all the more positive stores will get posted as I guess we all take for granted health when it is going smoothly, but it is good to have a site like this to get information and support from, everyone seems to genuiely care.

  6. #6
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    Some quickie comments --

    Likely your boy is a 4 on the BCS - body condition scale - which is from 1-10 with 5 being ideal. You said he was a bit underweight and a 4, so this must be the BCS the cardio is referencing. Better a 4 than a 6, IMO!!

    Omega 3 (NOT 6 or 9) fish oil capsules - absolutely a good supplement with many benefits to brain, heart, kidney function, coat and skin. Look for 1000 mg with the highest EPA and DHA possible (I use Puritan's Pride super omega 3 fish oil capsules). I'll go more into this whenever the heck I have time to finish my posts on food and supplements in the thread from last week.

    For Ginny's Sophie who is on lasix and enalapril - if she is on lasix, she is in congestive heart failure versus simply having a grade III murmur. Remember that a murmur just describes the amount of "noise" that is heard from the regurgitant flow (blood flowing in the wrong direction) but the murmur grade does not tell us whether or not a dog is in heart failure, etc. Generally a diuretic isn't started until there is pulmonary edema, which is officially heart failure. For Sadie, her valve is prolapsed (the valve leaflets are misshapen and bow inward, but they still close and there is no leaking yet).

    Regarding personal stories, death sentence, etc. -- I can tell you horror stories of rapid progression (but I won't in this post) but, with only one exception, I've had Cavaliers live for many, many years with well-compensated acquired valvular disease and (other than that one exception) they died from other causes well into their teens. (10 Cavaliers over a 20 year period.) The one (and this is a miraculous exception, but I will tell it) boy I had that was diagnosed at a heart clinic with an MVD murmur at 18 months died at 15 years old without ever having gone into CHF. Now, this is not typical, but I am using it as an example that you should not live as if your dog is going to die quickly.

    I think there are many factors involved in longevity in the presence of MVD - including:

    Just plain luck - or the "roll of the genetic dice"
    Weight, diet, supplements (and not that TRASH Hill's prescription HD diet! more later)
    Quality of medical care - i.e., cardiologist with echocardiogram, etc. to do diagnosis and treatment planning versus GP vet
    Limited vaccinations (I basically don't vaccinate middle aged and senior dogs with chronic illness)

    This is a LONG topic that I'd love to discuss when I have an hour or so to write some long posts. I will say that there is no magic bullet - I think the above factors play a role in helping a dog with acquired valvular disease cope with the illness to live the best possible life in terms of quantity and quality. When I have time to do the long post, I'll use as an example a litter of 7 in which one died at 8 of CHF while two others lived to be 16.

    More later!

    Pat Beman
    Atlanta, GA

    P.S. I absolutely support the 1998 MVD breeding protocol and I believe that if breeders adhered to this we would fairly quickly move the lifespan of the Cavalier to 14 years or so where it should be in a breed weighing less than 20 lbs. AND greatly reduce early onset acquired valvular disease.

  7. #7
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    Hi Pat

    Many thanks for your post. I appreciate your info and am mindful of your time constraints, but if you have time could you explain this to me.

    The Cardio said exactly what you have pointed out that the grade of the murmur only indicates the sound the that can be heard and is not totally representative of the level of deterioration.

    The cardiologist said that Luka valve was prolased, but she coloured the scan and was able to show me some regugitation of blood from the mitral and tricuspid valve. Does this indicated that he is worse than a grade 2 murmur might suggest. She did heart measurements and felt that due to the subtle nature of the regurgitation he was not ready for medication and that I should come back in a year.

    He is asymptomatic and still lively on walks but he is a little more subdued than normal. I put that down to my giving off vibes to cause him to stress.

    On a general note, to all. I advised my breeder at the recommedation of the cardio. She seemed genuinely shocked but said she had had no other person in the whole of her 30 yrs of breeding 10 litters a year, ever say they had an early onset MVD dog from her breeding program. Her comment was its one of things, which I took to mean a genetic fluke. I urged her to note it, and said I would keep her informed. She said if more problems came to light in other dogs she would remove the pair of dogs that parented Luka from here program, But I got the impression that she didnt think it highlighted a problem within her dogs. Is she misguided or can the problem be caused by a genetic throwback.

    I hope the above is not a problem post. I have not named her but nor will I ever recommend her.

    Sue
    Last edited by chopsuey 47; 28th January 2009 at 06:33 PM.

  8. #8
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    I don't know if MVD can just be a fluke or a freak occurrence. When I told Oz's breeder, she was so responsive and heartbroken. Like your breeder, she said she has heard of only one other of her dogs that had early onset MVD. But, unlike your breeder, she said she would never breed either his mother or father again. I hope that's true. She truly seemed shocked and saddened to hear he was diagnosed at such an early age. She still has his sister and had her checked out right away by a cardiologist. There were only two in that litter and it was his mom's first breeding.
    Bev
    Oliver (blenheim, born 3/2001), Riley (black & tan, born 8/2002,), Madison (ruby, born 9/2003), and Oz (tri-color, born 7/2007)

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by chopsuey 47 View Post

    On a general note, to all. I advised my breeder at the recommedation of the cardio. She seemed genuinely shocked but said she had had no other person in the whole of her 30 yrs of breeding 10 litters a year, ever say they had a MVD dog from her breeding program. Her comment was its one of those freak/throw backs. I urged her to note it, and said I would keep her informed. She said if more problems came to light in other dogs she would remove the pair of dogs that parented Luka from here program, But I got the impression that she didnt think it highlighted a problem within her dogs. Is she misguided or can the problem be caused by a genetic throwback to history.
    Hi Sue, this sounds very familiar. I got the same response from my breeder, almost word for word apart from the throwback thing. When I heard of another suspected case of SM, a brother of Dylan's with the same sire (different breeder), I VERY tactfully suggested to my breeder that she scan her dogs. I got a very nasty email back from her. You'd be shocked if you read it.
    ....
    Dylan, Poppy & Kipling's
    *''' ' "*Mummy`` "*'
    ,'*" "*'

  10. #10
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    Hi Bev

    She sounds like she really cared. Perhaps having a litter pup made her think it could be her.

    My breeder was nervous as hell until I explained I didnt want anything more than info. But when all you get is a flat denial that any of her dogs have early onset MVD she couldnttell me anything that was worth much to me.

    Do you know what the outcome of Oz's sisters check.

    Re the throw back thing, I think I have read in one of Karlin's 'sticky' posts that this is a common breeder excuse.

    By the way, you describe Oz as alittle pistol. Is this when hes out for walks or all the time. How much do you think he rests on average during the day.

    Sue
    Last edited by chopsuey 47; 27th January 2009 at 07:50 PM. Reason: to address Bev

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