30th March 2013, 12:28 AM
Recent MVD diagnosis
Hello everyone, I'm a newbie here.
I'm a proud sister to three Cavaliers: Parker (6) and Georgie (5) who are Blenheim and Rupert (4) a Ruby.
Parker went to the vet for an ear infection on Tuesday and the vet is 90% sure that Parker has MVD but needs to do blood work to confirm. My parents are trying to accumulate the money for that but want to move forward with healthy choices for all three of the boys, but Parker in particular.
I've done some research, but some of it is kind of conflicting so I would appreciate some helpful information to pass along to my parents.
We're most confused about food. The vet recommends Hills H/D which is SUPER expensive and my mom would like to just make food for Parker and his brothers. Does anyone have suggestions on foods/recipes for food?
Also, I'd kind of like to hear from some of you have have a Cavalier with a diagnosis that have gone several years with little to no progression, is there anything you've done that we should be doing? Supplements? Increase/decrease activity levels?
And are there any sources we should be looking at in particular? I printed up over 100 pages of stuff I found online but I'm not sure if any of it was anything special.
My parents use a vet who I have doubts about. He's a nice man, but when my mother asked him about SM in Cavaliers a few years back he didn't know what she was talking about... the parents love him though and keep going to him.... we're kind of being led by the blind here.
A final note for your consideration when drafting replies: My parents are not in very good shape financially... dad was injured at work last year and he's getting disability which is not nearly enough for them to live off of particularly when unforeseen expenses come up. I live nearby with my boyfriend but I'm currently between jobs so I'm not able to help either... so all of this has to be done in a budget friendly fashion.
We're also located in Southern California if that helps with talking about brands of dog food.
30th March 2013, 04:50 AM
Sarah, I don't think any blood work is necessary to determine if a cavalier has MVD. All it takes is a well-educated vet with a stethoscope and a good ear.
Originally Posted by Sarah Quest
Hills h/d is junk food. Vets make a profit on it for recommending it and selling it. A good quality canned food, with a good cardiac supplement and a few other supplements and vitamins are a good course of action. An example of a good quality canned food would be Merrick Thanksgiving Day Dinner or Merrick Cowboy Cookout. A good cardiac supplement is Bio-Cardio, a Thorne Veterinary Products multi-vitamin, mineral, and herbal extract supplement, or Canine Cardiac Support, by Standard Process. Other supplements for cavaliers with MVD are listed here: http://cavalierhealth.org/diets.htm#Cardiac_Supplements
Originally Posted by Sarah Quest
We make our cavaliers' food, but home-prepared recipes can be risky if not well-balanced with supplements, an important one being a calcium source to balance phosphorus in the meat. We feed raw meats and vegetables. There is a Yahoo email list called K9Kitchen -- http://pets.groups.yahoo.com/group/K9Kitchen/ -- which may offer some good recipes. The owner of that list, Monica Segal, has owned several cavaliers and, I think, has a couple of them right now.
Last edited by RodRussell; 30th March 2013 at 05:12 AM.
30th March 2013, 05:36 AM
I thought something was up with the blood work... sounds like the vet may be trying to make some more money. He listened to Parker's heart and then had my mother listen and both of them distinctly heard it... I wasn't there (parents took the Blenheims since Georgie needed shots while I kept the Ruby company at home) so I will see if I can get more details on what this blood work is that he wants to run.
Thanks for the food suggestions, I'm definitely going to check those out.
30th March 2013, 10:55 AM
Hi and welcome.
I'd wonder whether he actually said bloodwork or actually meant some other tests to gauge the blood flow through the heart -- which would be the kind of thing you might do for MVD. I am afraid to really accurately assess the condition of a dog and make the best treatment decisions it does begin to involve tests which ARE costly -- and actually are best done by a board certified cardiologist. Medications also do begin to become expensive for this condition (easily can reach $50-100 monthly as the condition progresses).
Unfortunately almost every cavalier gets MVD as it ages and a good number of those will need special medical care -- eg medications and tests --because of it. tHis s one reason why many of us strongly recommend insuring this breed from the start so these expenses will at least be part covered.
Once financial conditions are better perhaps your parents may wish to try to insure the other two if they are not yet showing signs of MVD.
That said: if the vet is not sure he has MVD -- and statistically, vets are not great at hearing early murmurs, which is why it is a good idea to work with a cardiologist once MVD is there -- then almost certainly the murmur is low grade at this point and not requiring medications. sO you probably really only want to get a basic grade.
A vet should not need to do further costly tests to verify this -- I'd just find a good cardiologist (Rod's www.cavalierhealth.org website has a list) and see a cardio for an auscultation ONLY just to see if there is a murmur and grade it. Or, check Rod's site for lists of upcoming dog show events where you can get this done at very low cost (like $30-50). Parker may never need medications -- it is impossible to tell how the condition will progress (though if the health background of parents is known, it helps greatly. Good breeders should be doing proper testing and following a breeding protocol for hearts but sadly the majority do not. Breed club breeders are definitely better than the general person breeding (exploiting ) this breed but even then many do not follow these basic long-standing protocols and hence generation after generation of cavaliers suffers an early onset of this old-dog disease.
Diet is really important as is keeping cavaliers fit and lean and never ever overweight, which will put extra strain on the heart. You definitely can do homecooked or raw meals for the dogs (there are commercial, frozen raw diets that can be bought as well, but some have had problems with nurtitional balance) but should not just randomly make them from whatever is around, or from just some meat-- nutritional balance is extremely important and thus a good diet needs research.
I don't care for Hills either -- and generally don't feed much dry kibble anyway.
It wouldn't be too surprising that a vet would not be very familiar with SM or even to have heard of it at all in cavaliers. The breed is not all that common in the US, and the condition would have been quite rare until it was discovered that it has a very high incidence in cavaliers and that it seems to affect all toy breeds to different extents . Like MVD it is one best managed by a specialist (in the same way that a GP would not manage serious heart disease in a human).
In memory: Lucy
30th March 2013, 02:27 PM
Karlin mentioned finding a cardiologist to confirm the MVD. As she noted, the least expensive way is to take the dog to a health clinic. At most health clinics offering heart checks, the vet is a cardiologist. There is a list of them here: http://cavalierhealth.org/health_clinics.htm
There are several upcoming ones in California, but you will find that most of those California heart clinics on the list right now will not have a cardiologist doing the exams. Even if you cannot find a nearby one with a cardiologist, you might consider having him checked at one of the clinics that does not have a cardiologist, just to get a second opinion from an experienced vet.
My family has had cavaliers for over 40 years, and we've never found having and caring for one to be inexpensive. Whether you get your cavalier from rescue or the pound or a breeder gives you an older, retired breeding bitch for free, that usually is just the beginning of spending a lot of money if you want to keep your dog healthy and long-lived.
4th April 2013, 09:21 AM
I hear you on the fact that they can be expensive! Georgie injured his eye and had to have surgery on it to the tune of $2,000 a few years ago. Rupert injured his leg when he was just under a year old and the break was so bad it wouldn't heal-- the surgeon had to do four separate surgeries just to set it... plus all the follow up medications and visits... I think that was about $8,000 total... Parker has always been the healthiest of the bunch until now...
You know that expression, "When it rains it pours"? Well that's the case right now. I could ramble forever about the drama that my parents' have been going through since my dad was injured at work... then my financial woes.... and now Parker...
Thanks for the information and links. I/we appreciate them!