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my dog is in heart failure :(

(21 Posts)
Shelium Thu 06-Dec-12 18:36:40

12 years ago I got my lovely girl from a rescue centre. She was 3 at the time (or so they said) and had had a number of different homes, all of which had given up on her as she was aggressive.

She was a bit of a pain, but was the sweetest and kindest dog i've ever met when inside the house, never a growl, a grumble or any kind of dominant behaviour. We muzzled her when out, flooded her with love, and she was soon "cured" of any aggresive behaviour (though it took time).

She is a black lab cross whippet - though slightly rounder in her old age grin

She is now well over 15, and has just been diagnosed with heart failure sad she is on a cocktail of different medications (stared yesterday) after a dramatic collapse.

I lost my dad earlier this year, and am heavily pregnant with DC2. I don't want my lovely doggy friend to die sad She's been with me longer than I have been with DH!

Logically I know she can'tlive forever, but emotionally it hurts sad

Has anyone been through this? And how long did your dogs last after diagnosis? The vet can't/won't give me any kind of timescale.

aJumpedUpChristmasElf Thu 06-Dec-12 19:08:55

My lovely little JRT lived happily for nearly 3 years with a shockingly bad heart.

He was on several tablets per day - at the vets they used to call other vets in to listen to his heartbeat because they said it was amazing that he was still going.

He even survived an operation during this time - the vet said he had never operated so fast in his life!

He died aged 15 four years ago and I still miss him.

I hope that the medication perks up your lovely girl and she has some quality time left.

cynnerthenaughtyreindeer Thu 06-Dec-12 19:10:39

I am sorry this is happening. Hoping the meds will help. Sending tonnes of healing thoughts your way..

dwagdays Thu 06-Dec-12 19:55:51

It depends what kind of heart failure as far as I know. One of mine faints easily but is otherwise going strong a year since diagnosis.

If your vet doesn't reassure you he could refer you to a specialist cardio vet. Prob only an option if you're insured!

Sorry you are meeting this now after your tough year. I hope she does well on her meds.

Shelium Thu 06-Dec-12 20:02:14

thanks all smile

I've not been told which kind of heart failure? She has a murmer, which has got progressively worse. I was told that they grade the murmers out of 6, and that hers is a 5/6.

She is insured, though the vets seem to think that as long as she responds to treatment, there is no point throwing money at her - and I do tend to agree.

Lonecatwithkitten Thu 06-Dec-12 21:43:52

With her breed combination the most likely diagnosis is dilated cardiomyopathy though this is not guaranteed. An accurate diagnosis need two x-ray views, ECG and echocardiogram. The differentiates between DCM, mitral valve disease and pericardial effusion.
If it is DCM the issue with this disease is that dogs that suffer from this can die suddenly at any time from cardiac arrhythmias. I have had a patient last 48 hours and a patient last 3 years and everything in between.
My preference for treatment is pimobendan, benzapril, spironactone and frusemide and an antidysrhythmic if indicated.

poachedeggs Sat 08-Dec-12 10:24:02

I'm going to disagree with Lonecat, I'm afraid. At 15 with a history of a progressively worsening murmur it's more likely to be mitral valve disease, which is hugely common and very treatable. An ultrasound scan will differentiate MVD from DCM or other, less common diagnoses. But the treatment is unlikely to be different whether it's MVD or DCM, and at 15 I'd be more interested in getting her treated quickly to maintain a good quality of life, than in performing too many tests.

I'm optimistic that you're likely to see a good improvement quite quickly. No guarantees obviously, but you may be surprised by how well she responds smile

Lonecatwithkitten Sat 08-Dec-12 23:07:25

I actually there is regional variation poached with us in our area DCM is the biggest problem in large breeds, probably due to different genetic lines.

poachedeggs Sun 09-Dec-12 06:13:47

Sorry, I didn't realise you two were local to one another. Interesting re local variation.

All the best OP.

PottedShrimp Sun 09-Dec-12 07:23:03

My dog had DCM for 16 months. Thrived as soon as he was on medication and lived a full and active life until the meds had done all they could. Fingers crossed yours responds similarly to medication. Mine was on Vetmedin, frusemide and another one I have forgotten but think it began with B.

flowerytaleofNewYork Sun 09-Dec-12 07:27:48

My dog had mitral valve disease after a heart murmur which was there for a couple of years and unfortunately from diagnosis and going on medication he only lasted 9 months. He was 6.

However his was unusually severe, and I know several people who've had dogs with mitral valve last years and years.

Shelium Sun 09-Dec-12 18:57:46

Thanks for all your stories and help.

Doggie is on 4 tablets per day - Vetmedin, prilactone, Furosemide & Fortekor.

Unfortunately she has to have the vetmedin twice per day, before she has her meal (and rest of foods). She HATES the vetmedin. She will not eat it, no matter what, and it is a huge tablet, which is impossible to shove down her throat. So she isnt eating much, and doesnt get her meds at reliable times - which is fairly important as she is also on thyroxyl and has to take it at the same time each day. She also rarely gets 2 doses of vetmedin. sad

I have an appointment with the vets on Tuesday to check her over, so we will see what they suggest. She has always been a fussy eater though.

The improvement in her is remarkable grin She no longer huffs puffs or coughs! she improved within about 24 hours!!! She has had no walks for a few days as the vets wanted her to settle on the meds first, and I was worried if i took her out and she collapsed again, I couldn't carry her home. We took her out today for the first time since Monday, and so she should be okay from now on. smile

She does seem a lot more frail than before, much slower and stiffer (though thinner, probably had a fair bit of water retention!)

BrigitBigKnickers Sun 09-Dec-12 19:09:04

My first sheltie had a slight heart murmer from birth. He got to 11 when I took him to the vets with a non productive cough and was told his murmer had got significantly worse. He started on medication (vetmedin and frusimide) which made a big difference and lasted till he was over 16 but he had other health problems by then (had a series of small strokes and fits.)

Glad your dog is showing signs of improvement- sounds like her quality of life has been greatly improved.

poachedeggs Sun 09-Dec-12 19:42:34

Great news smile

The Vetmedin is really important - it's the one which makes the biggest difference to quality of life IMO - so explain the problems you're having to your vet. The 5mg size is available in a smaller capsule form (cheaper too!) so depending on her size it might be better for you. The drug in it isn't properly absorbed when food is present so it is important to give it correctly in order for itto

Good luck smile

poachedeggs Sun 09-Dec-12 19:43:19


*it to work

Lifeisontheup Sun 09-Dec-12 19:57:06

My 14 year old springer has heart failure due to renal failure and is on Fortekor and is going strong atm, still enjoying half hour walks and loving her food, she is starting to cough a bit more but as long as she's enjoying life we'll keep going, the moment she isn't then the decision will be made.
Have you tried disguising the tablets in butter or cheese? Mine go mad for that and will take anything hidden in that.

Shelium Sun 09-Dec-12 21:13:15

oh and I meant to say, I am in the South West - I have no idea where lonecat is, or even if she/he knows me grin

Shelium Sun 09-Dec-12 21:14:10

yep, we've tried EVERYTHING. She nibbles through cheese and licks butter. She had one whole day of eating it crushed up in double cream (great for heart disease hmm) but now won't touch it. <sighs>

Lifeisontheup Sun 09-Dec-12 21:48:28

I knew there must be an advantage to having a greedy hound, hope you manage to find a way.

PottedShrimp Mon 10-Dec-12 06:10:22

there is a flavoured vetmedin. that is the one my dog had. And it was prilactone here too. vetmedin morning and night. I tried one month of the non flavoured one and he sussed it out straightaway. It is cheaper but no good if they wont eat it. back on the flavoured one and he loved it. By the way, the prognosis for my dog was 3 months. he lasted 16, so the meds really helped.

Lonecatwithkitten Mon 10-Dec-12 14:54:36

Shelium it is worth asking about Cardalis which is Fortekor and Prilactone combined in one tablet. Not only will it reduce the number of tablets you need to give, but it is cheaper than buying the two individual drugs.
I am not in the South West so no I am not seeing you. However, your local cardiologists who will be talking to your local vets are the lovely Luca and the wonderful Mark and they advocate this treatment combination.

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