8th May 2012, 12:23 AM
Asking a hard question? But one I have wondered about?
Bentley thank goodness is healthy, for now, knock on wood, his heart is clear, aside from a scratch here and there on the ears and a good doggie shake once in a while he seems to be sm free, for now. (though I would love to have an mri just to ease my paranoia) But the topic with DH and I has come up recently of what would we do if he was diagnosed with mitral Valve or SM? We originally said when we choose cavaliers as our breed of choice, that we would have our dog put to sleep, if they had a painful debilitating illness, but now we have learned more about treatment options, and we are so attached to our Bentley (didn't expect that lol) that we have been saying would try to treat our pets. (no drastic measures like surgery, we did that once with a very sick cat and it did not work and our cat passed away with in 8 hours, so with that as our experience, surgery is not for our pets now)
I guess we would cross the bridge when we came to it (I have felt super paranoid lately about sm and mitral valve, like obsessed with every little scratch, freak out at the vet when he goes to check his heart and hold my breath ect.) But I wonder if anyone here has chosen to euthanize because their pet was diagnosed and they just did not want to see them suffer another minute, and not treat at all? I have had two very sick cats who I have treated, and honestly sometimes I think I should have just let them go and not suffer at all, but then sometimes I am glad for the extra time I had with the one that treating worked on.)
8th May 2012, 12:25 AM
I may have posted this in the wrong forum, I meant for it to be in health library, if that is where it goes, please move it if needed. Sorry in advance.
8th May 2012, 12:53 AM
This is a very personal decision and there really isn't a right or wrong answer. I feel if the owner has consulted with a vet and their family, what they have decide is best.
I don't think MVD as painful. The choice is treating your pet with meds and lengthening their life vs not treating and having your pet go into heart failure sooner. My rescue male is still doing okay without the meds...he has quite a few days where he still acts like a puppy and my vet seems to think he is doing okay still. We will medicate him when the vet tells us, and continue treatment until he goes into heart failure. I think that is the only option for our family. I could never euthanize a dog because of MVD.
I have no experience with SM....yet.
8th May 2012, 02:21 AM
8th May 2012, 02:45 AM
Ok sorry if I offend you but saying this (honestly) but I think your a little too paranoid about "possible" health issues. Sure, once you know what "could" happen it always is the back of your mind BUT from what I understand cavaliers can sense sad emotions sometimes. You may be adding to the stress in the whole house thinking of the "what ifs". You have children do you sit around and thinking about the "what ifs" about their health? I mean there has to be some medical issue that runs in your family, high bloodpressure, cancers something you don't over think everyday do you? There are few sure things in life, you NEVER get to have a crystal ball and see into the future. Treat your dog like you do your children, watch them for signs of illness but don't play the "what if" game. I mean you married your husband for better or worse, in sickness or in health its that the same way with your children and dogs???? Whatever happens happens deal with it then. Enjoy your dog, love him. Again, I'm just giving you some advice take it or not but please know I'm saying this from the right place and I hope your not offended.
8th May 2012, 03:57 AM
8th May 2012, 11:18 AM
I totally understand where your coming from, because I'm just the same! There's a fine line between being informed about conditions such as sm and completely obsessing over them and it's fair to say I crossed that line lol! Like you this is my first ever dog, so it's hard to determine what's 'normal' dog behaviour and behaviour which may be a concern, especially considering some of the symptoms can be seen in all dogs, what is classed as excessive for example? I'm finally starting to relax a little and enjoy my pup. We all have to hope that we never have to deal with sm but if we do we now have the knowledge to get our dogs the help they need asap and that can only be a good thing.
8th May 2012, 02:44 PM
I can see why you worry but please (and I men no offence) try to stop or it will ruin a beautiful time with your bentley.
I do the 'hold your breath' thing when I bring mine for check ups and it's listen to the heart time also but other than that I just enjoy them. If they get unwell for any little reason I get a day or two when I worry about what if's but it will do me or them no good to continue worrying. Thankfully none of mine have SM.
Last April the shock came when I took Pippin in for his health check, I held my breath and then was told there was a murmur,it was the dreaded MVD, further investigation showed more problems with his heart, he already had epilepsy but was doing fine on medication, he is on heart meds now also and is doing very well, he doesn't know he has anything wrong and we don't really treat him any differently just a few tweaks to exercise routine and playing games.He is over 8yrs old and behaves like a puppy, if there is mischief to be found he's there getting into it
DJ is almost 8 and as far as we know heart clear (he is due for check up next week, so fingers crossed) Gus is 10yrs and 5 and a half months and is heart clear, no murmur and a very strong heart, he has some disc disease and a bit of arthritis but he doesn't need to be on constant medication and is still active (very!).
All in all I have three senior doggies and hope they will still be with me for a long time yet. I refuse to worry and ruin my wonderful moments with them. Snuggles on the bed/sofa, daily walks - although short, barking for biscuits, Pippin and DJ play fighting and Gus looking at them like they are mad! (not ideal for Pippin but as he starts it I refuse to ruin it for him and supervise until he's had enough and then call them with a distraction, which is time up on my lap usually)
As I type this they are all in bed resting after their walk and biscuit, they are not worrying about the future and neither am I. We will deal with whatever comes and will hopefully have the will and energy to do so as we will not have wasted it wondering about if's, but's and maybe's....I say all this to you with the best of intentions, and hope you will be able to relax and not worry about Bentley too much, if he does get sick you will know what to do at that time, but he may never get sick, and you may have years ahead with him so please enjoy them.
My very best wishes to you and for Bentley a long healthy life. Take care xx
Gus(blenhiem) Nov 2001 - Dec 2015 Pippin(tri) DJ(ruby) June 2004 - Nov 2015
8th May 2012, 06:21 PM
Pippa said something very important: dogs do not know that they are ill. If something is wrong, they will adjust their capabilities to accommodate it. If they start panting when out for a walk, they don't say to themselves 'Oh that must be my heart murmur getting worse'; they will just walk more slowly and find life easier if owner notices and shortens their walks. Oliver and Aled both have both MVD and SM. When I watch them enjoying themselves running across the fields, getting excited about their supper, enjoying the fuss they get from passers-by whenever we walk along the street, I would no more think of killing them off than I would expect someone to kill me off because I have an incurable genetic mutation affecting the nerves in my feet. Aled, 5 next month, with recently diagnosed SM and a Grade 3 murmur, is on no medication at all. Oliver, 11 next month, is on no medication for his Grade 2 murmur and very straightforward medication for his SM; he gets occasional headaches and is light phobic, but has never had the sort of pain that would cause him to yelp - many Cavaliers with SM don't. Knowledge of SM and treatment for it is growing all the time - that's why Oliver is taking part in the Royal Veterinary College trial, so that he and other Cavaliers can benefit from better treatment. Treatment for MVD has improved enormously in the 20 years since I first had a Cavalier dying of congestive heart failure at 8.5 years.
Yes, it would be nice if Cavaliers didn't have these diseases, and we have a responsibility not to let them get to the stage where their quality of life is really bad, but Cavaliers also have an amazing capacity for enjoying life in spite of it all.
Relax and enjoy Bentley!
Kate, Oliver and Aled
Last edited by Kate H; 8th May 2012 at 06:26 PM.
8th May 2012, 07:05 PM
Frankly? I think nobody should get a dog if they plan to euthenise at just a diagnosis of an illness.
Just as with people, a diagnosis means little in assessing quality of life. If a dog truly is in unaddressable pain and has a very poor quality of life, then euthenising is one of the kind gifts we can give them at the end.
But I cannot even imagine killing a dog just because it is diagnosed with an illness and has even a short time when it has good quality of life.
Pretty much every single cavalier will get MVD so really there's no point in getting the breed if it was felt a diagnosis means euthenasia.
Most will get SM as well so again, this is not a breed anyone should get if they do not have management of serious medical conditions as a possibility ahead. MRIing a young dog is pretty pointless without medical/research reasons to do so-- SM is a progressive disease and most cases do not appear before age 2.5 -4. And can appear even after a clear scan. Breeders are not advised to breed without a scan at 2.5 as relying on any earlier scan is highly risky.
That said, symptoms of either of these can be minimal and can also be managed in numerous ways, often for years. Many dogs with these conditions actually eventually die of other causes.
But it is a fact that the vast majority of us will lose our cavalier eventually to MVD. By contrast I do not know a single other dog owner of other breeds/mixes who has lost even an elderly dog to MVD. While it is a common diagnosis in older dogs of all types, cavaliers get it years younger than other breeds/mixes and die faster from it, according to research on Rod's Cavalierhealth.org website.
I have three dogs with SM, ranging in age from 6 to 8.5. They all have a very good quality of life, with the worst affected managed now for over 6 years on medications. However not all are that fortunate and we have many here who lost their cavaliers at younger ages when pain became unmanageable.
We all take these risks when opting for this breed -- but we love the breed, one reason we focus so much on supporting research and rescue.
In memory: Lucy