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Thread: Advice: Cavalier diagnosed with MVD & tricuspid regurgitation at age 1 year 3 months

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  1. #1
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    Default Advice: Cavalier diagnosed with MVD & tricuspid regurgitation at age 1 year 3 months

    This is so difficult for me to write. I have the sweetest, kindest, most loving cavalier that I adore, my first cavalier. My barely 1 year old best friend (1 year 3 months) was just diagnosed with mild tricuspid regurgitation and trace mitral regurgitation, grade 1 murmur, no cardiac enlargement or structural changes. I did a ton of research prior to getting her and got her from a breeder that has bred cavaliers for many years, has his cavaliers in shows, got the papers showing the parents/grandparents were cleared by a cardiologist after 5 etc and here I am. I know there is still a risk of this even if the parents are clear, but this early? Why? I have also read the success stories, that sometimes they are diagnosed super early and don't progress, which is obviously where I am hoping to be 6 months from now. FYI, the breeder is already informed of the situation and has notified her sibling parents.

    I work in health care and luckily have a good sense as to what this all means, what the medications do when/if we get to that point etc but I am still finding all of this information generally overwhelming. On top of it, we are pretty sure she has allergies and we are trying the hills diet that seems to not be very popular amongst the board. I am not sure if there is really another option to rule out food allergies, but to be honest i've been so focused on the heart that I haven't researched this a ton yet.


    Here is where I am asking for any advice that you may all have:
    1) I have ASPCA insurance, it caps congenital heart disease at $500 lifetime, which Im pretty sure we hit already. I keep reading that a lot of you have insurances that seem to be reimbursing you, what insurance companies are you using? We are considering dropping the insurance and just putting the premiums towards her annual/bi-annual echos.
    2) Regarding supplements, I am reading that fish oils (omega 3 and omega 6), CoQ10, vitamin b, vitamin E are regularly used. Is there a certain brand that is recommended? Are your vets monitoring any labs while your pets are on these?
    3) For those of you that have your cavaliers on supplements, are you giving them yourself or is there a holistic vet/cardiologist/regular vet recommending them/following? I am starting to look into holistic vets, but as you can imagine our vet bills are getting rather high and if you have had any experience with a particular one please share!
    4) Any particular food/diet that has worked for your pet, keep in mind I am in the process of ruling out food allergies.
    5) I would love to hear any success stories.


    I only found out she was diagnosed 4 days ago but I am finding it difficult to move on with my everyday routine. I wanted to thank this board for providing support, I have only gotten through the first 15 pages out of 71 on this forum but have found it immensely helpful and for every cavalier that has to suffer through this, my heart breaks. I am trying to maintain optimism, at least in front of my best friend, but I am so scared for her next check up via echo in 6 months that it is proving very difficult at best...


    Thank you all for listening.

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    Only time for a quick answer, but don't want you to stay unanswered for too long. A grade 1 murmur is, to be honest, nothing to worry about - just be careful to watch weight and walking in hot weather, and keep Bubbles fit (in other words, enjoy lots of walks together!). Normally, serious symptoms don't appear until the murmur goes up to a grade 5, and that can take many years. Both my Cavaliers have murmurs - Oliver at 12 has a grade 3, Aled at 6 has a grade 4 - but neither of them have any symptoms. Aled is a rescue from a puppy farm and had a grade 1 murmur when I got him at 18 months, but 5 years later is still only a 4. But it's very difficult to foresee how a particular dog will progress. My two have Omega 3 daily (I use the human capsules, which are bought over the counter at the local pharmacy and are very cheap), and I know a lot of people give CoQ10, both of which the specialists think (but can't definitively prove) can slow down progress of a murmur, but otherwise giving heart medication too early can cause problems. People from the US can give you more useful advice about insurance than I can. But the great thing at the moment is not to let future possibilities that may be many years ahead spoil your time with Bubbles NOW. Enjoy her, keep an unobtrusive eye on her and try not to worry. She isn't worrying!



    Kate, Oliver and Aled

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    I agree with Kate. Although it is terrible to find out some so serious is wrong with your baby, please remember there are lots and lots of pets and people with low grade heart murmurs enjoying a perfectly happy, active, 'normal' life. Yes, its something you will have to watch/monitor but as for now just do heart healthy things like staying active and proper diet.

    I personally think you need to get away from the Hills food. I do think vets just push Hills as a "fix it all" dog food. Try http://www.dogfoodadvisor.com/ , I would look into limited ingredient foods or if you can manage a home prepared diet at least until you figure out her issues.

    Since your dog is diagnosed I don't see any problems with contacting the insurance company about their policies and double check that lifetime max. If that is the true then yeah I would drop and or at lease limit it to an accident only. You might want to look at local heart clinics, see if they offer the types of exams that your dog will need. There is a list of clinics on www.cavalierhealth.com.
    Melissa
    "If you don't own a dog, at least one, there is not necessarily anything wrong with you, but there may be something wrong with your life."
    -Roger Caras

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kate H View Post
    My two have Omega 3 daily (I use the human capsules, which are bought over the counter at the local pharmacy and are very cheap),



    Kate, Oliver and Aled
    Kate can I ask how many tablets you give and what dose. Im keen to start Leo on Omega 3, Thanks Mel
    Mel
    Momma to Leonardo (Leo to his friends)

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    Hi Mel

    Some people buy the oil and add it to the food, but it's quite expensive. My two have 2 x 1000mg capsules - which sounds a huge amount and the capsules look big, but most of it is gelatine. The actual amount of Omega 3 is almost exactly the dose recommended in the expensive heart supplement, Cardigard (I did higher mathematics to work that out!). I get mine online from Simply Supplements, 180 + 180 free (ie 6 months' supply) for around 10. Aled just munches his; Oliver is more suspicious, so I put a little bit of tinned meat on his supper and hide the capsules in that. Nobody really knows definitely whether Omega 3 does slow down progression, but at that price it's worth trying - and if nothing else, it's good for their coats!

    Kate, Oliver and Aled

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    Thanks Kate I appreciate that.....I will definitely invest in some. I agree even if it helps a little it will be worth it.
    Mel
    Momma to Leonardo (Leo to his friends)

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    Quote Originally Posted by lovemybubbles View Post
    ... Here is where I am asking for any advice that you may all have:
    1) I have ASPCA insurance, it caps congenital heart disease at $500 lifetime, which Im pretty sure we hit already. I keep reading that a lot of you have insurances that seem to be reimbursing you, what insurance companies are you using? We are considering dropping the insurance and just putting the premiums towards her annual/bi-annual echos.
    I don't know anything about pet health insurance, but if the cap on congenital heart disease is $500.00, the next question is: Is this heart disorder congenital? Typical MVD (and tricuspid) in cavaliers is not congenital; it is "acquired". If the carrier says it is congenital, then I would drop the insurance. We've had cavaliers since 1969 and have never had any insurance, so I am fairly ignorant about it.

    Quote Originally Posted by lovemybubbles View Post
    ... 2) Regarding supplements, I am reading that fish oils (omega 3 and omega 6), CoQ10, vitamin b, vitamin E are regularly used. Is there a certain brand that is recommended? Are your vets monitoring any labs while your pets are on these?
    I recommend the vitamins and supplements listed here: http://www.cavalierhealth.org/diets....hy_Supplements We have used all of them. We don't combine all of the heart supplements unless recommended by our holistic vets, but FYI, our holistic vets have recommended all of those supplements for our cavaliers. And, yes, our vets review our dogs' lab work and tweak the supplement cocktail as necessary. We give Thorne's Bio-Cardio to all of our cavaliers, regardless of whether they have a murmur or not.

    Quote Originally Posted by lovemybubbles View Post
    ... 3) For those of you that have your cavaliers on supplements, are you giving them yourself or is there a holistic vet/cardiologist/regular vet recommending them/following? I am starting to look into holistic vets, but as you can imagine our vet bills are getting rather high and if you have had any experience with a particular one please share!
    We rely upon holistic vets to recommend supplements and to monitor their progress. As for vet bills, the current protocol for monitoring the progress of MVD, as recommended by cardiologist Dr. Mark Oyama and others, is to have the heart auscultated periodically and to have periodic x-rays. Unless the murmur grade approaches 5 or seems to be progressing rapidly (or the cardiologist thinks something else is going on with the heart, an echo is not necessary.

    Quote Originally Posted by lovemybubbles View Post
    ... 4) Any particular food/diet that has worked for your pet, keep in mind I am in the process of ruling out food allergies.
    We feed raw diets and have done so for about 15 years, as recommended by our holistic vets. Our recipes are carefully crafted for balance of meat protein, organ meats, vegetables, and occasionally some small amounts of small grains. We grind all of the food and mix it together. We make batches of them monthly and package them in quart-sized freezer bags for daily use. We feed our dogs twice daily and mix their supplements in with their food.

    If raw or home-cooked is not in the cards for you (and I certainly can understand it, because it is very time-consuming), we recommend a high quality canned food, like Merrick Thanksgiving Day Dinner and Merrick Cowboy Cookout.
    Last edited by RodRussell; 16th October 2013 at 05:21 PM.
    Rod Russell

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    My youngest was diagnosed with a congenital grade one murmur and mitral valve regurgitation at 4 months of age. He had an echo and wore a holter monitor for 24 hours. He is 6 years old now and his murmur hasn't changed at all. His regular vet has a difficult time hearing it and his cardiologist even said that he doesn't need to see him yearly any more unless something changes. I give all my dogs 1000mg salmon oil caps and 50 mg coQ10 daily. Oz is on a raw diet - not because of his heart but because he has inflammatory bowel disease and that seems to be the best food for him. I don't home cook it though, I use the Primal frozen nuggets. Where do you live by the way?
    Bev
    Oliver (blenheim, born 3/2001), Riley (black & tan, born 8/2002,), Madison (ruby, born 9/2003), and Oz (tri-color, born 7/2007)

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