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Thread: Advice on congestive heart failure?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Derbyshire UK
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    Default Advice on congestive heart failure?

    Hi all, my dog has been diagnosed with early stages of congestive heart failure recently, she is now taking fortekur and prilactone x1 daily.
    I understand CHF cannot be cured, but is there anything I can do to make my dog more comfortable? She is walked daily (short walks) and fed on pedagree in jelly meat with a little bit of dry food at night.

    any advise would be great, thanks.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Herts, UK
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    Hi there, My Leo was diagnosed just before Christmas with CHF too so Im also learning all I can about it and what I can do for him to help.
    I walk him on short walks daily and Im watching his weight closely.....being over weight will make things so much worse. I also give him Omega 3 fish oil as Ive been told this may help.
    When I posted here when he was fist diagnosed I had great advice....I was told he doesn't know he's ill so don't wrap him in cotton wool....that was very helpful, obviously we've made changes, ie no marathon walks for example and no treats except low fat.
    He's on meds too and we take one day at a time. There are so many people here who have so much experience you'll learn loads and its a good place to vent...I know I have.
    Hope your little one is as well as he can be....

    Mumma to Leonardo (Leo to his friends)
    Waiting at the bridge

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Coventry UK
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    I'm sorry you are having to deal with this, although Cavaliers can last for many months with CHF. If you don't do it already, it helps to raise her food and water dishes so that she doesn't have to drop her head to eat and drink; as her heart enlarges she will be unable to do this comfortably. It might help to give your girl two small meals a day, which will be less effort to eat. It also helps to get 'doggy steps' so that she can get onto sofas (and beds) without having to jump; Hyperdrug, the online pharmacy, do good ones. Although I hope that both your girl and Mel's Leo will be with you for many months (perhaps even years) yet, one of the comforting things I have found with the two of mine who have died of CHF is that they make it very clear when they have had enough and are ready to go - there's a particular look that says 'I can't go on, mum - help me' and you don't have to worry whether it is too soon, whether you could keep them going a bit longer; it just becomes the most loving thing you can do for them. I'm sorry if that sounds morbid - before you get to that stage (which, as I said, can be months or years) you will be amazed at how much enjoyment Cavaliers can get out of life even when it has become limited by illness. One of my Cavaliers had very swift onset CHF, the other one was ill for 9 months and it was such a precious time caring for her, and she really enjoyed life to the last day (especially the freshly cooked chicken that I hand-fed her!). Even when she wasn't up to much walking, I took her with me to visit friends and kept life as normal as possible for as long as I could.

    Kate, Oliver and Aled

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  5. #4
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Orlando, Florida USA
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    We've had several cavaliers with MVD over decades of having the breed, and all of those with MVD eventually entered congestive heart failure (CHF). Prior to CHF, he give our MVD dogs supplements to keep the heart healthy. There is a list of them here:

    -- Vitamin C and Vitamin E and CoQ10 and Udo's Choice Oil 3.6.9 Blend and fish oils.

    -- Sogeval Laboratories' Antiox-Ultra 5000.

    -- Thorne's Bio-Cardio or Vetri-Science's Vetri-Cardio Canine Chews.

    -- Standard Process' Canine Cardiac Support or Cardio-Plus or Cardiotrophin PMG or Cataplex E or Vasculin.

    -- Health Concern's Flavonex.

    -- Corvalen Ribose or Pure Encapsulations Ribose.

    But once the dog enters CHF and is prescribed medicines by the veterinarian, we stop giving any supplements which would conflict with or compound the effects of the prescriptions. So, once the dog is being given a diuretic and/or an ACE-inhibitor (Fortekor) and/or spironolactone (Prilactone), the supplements we still would be giving the CHF dog are: the vitamins and the oils and the anti-oxidant and either the Bio-Cardio tablets or the Vetri-Cardio chews.

    Obesity is very bad for CHF dogs. So, they should be kept at a moderate weight -- but not thin. There are a couple of body condition scoring charts here: All cavaliers, but particularly those in CHF, should be in the mid-range for either of these charts.

    They need daily exercise, but not too strenuous or too long. A couple of daily walks would be good, but don't force the dog to walk to far or at all if he indicates she doesn't feel well enough. At some point, the dog may not be able to walk outside, but she still needs the stimulation of fresh air and smells. So, consider a stroller for her to travel in on "walks" each day.

    The CHF dog may want to lie on a hard surface from time to time, so one should be available for him. Kate H. makes an important point of raising the food and water bowls a little bit, to make it easier for the dog to reach their contents.

    You did not mention that she is being given Vetmedin (pimobendan). At some point, the vet probably will recommend adding it to her daily cocktail of pills. For many CHF dogs, Vetmedin can really improve the symptoms and give the very sick dog new vigor. Vetmedin should not be given until after the dog is in CHF, and even then, it probably is better to wait a bit to see if the other medications improve the symptoms before adding the Vetmedin.
    Rod Russell


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