Welcome to PetForums

Join thousands of other pet owners and pet lovers on the UK's most popular and friendly pet community and discussion forum.

Sign Up

9 year old Lab - Just diagnosed with large heart murmur and Severe CHF and DCM

Discussion in 'Dog Health and Nutrition' started by Leila2018, Mar 12, 2021.


  1. Leila2018

    Leila2018 PetForums Newbie

    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2021
    Messages:
    6
    Likes Received:
    3
    Hi , new member here my almost 9 year old lab was diagnosed on Tuesday with a large heart murmur and he has severe Congestive heart failure and DCM. We had noticed a occasional cough , nothing that made us worry, well not until early hours Monday morning where his cough got really bad and he was retching with it . So when the vets opened i booked him in to the vets for the Tuesday - which was the next appointment they had available. The coughing continued by the time Tuesday at 3pm came he was not only doing the coughing and retching but he was cheek puffing as though he was out of breath, we took him to his appointment and obviously because of covid I had to wait in reception while they took him in the room.

    After a few minutes she came out without him and asked if we had ever been told he had a heart murmur , I was shocked as this has never been picked up on before , she then said she would like to keep him there whilst she does bloods and a specific heart blood test and an echocardiogram ultrasound, and that she would ring me later that evening to let me know , and whether he could come home that night or not.

    When she called she said his heart blood test should of been no higher than 1800 , but he had tested at in excess of 3000. She said the scan had also shown he had severe heart failure and that he had DCM, and that she was really worried about him and wanted to keep him in in case he needed oxygen.

    On the Wednesday I got a call from the vets saying he was no longer coughing and he was better than he was so could come home, but was told he is a long way out of the woods yet. He is on 5mg pimobendan (vetmedin) twice a day and he is also on torsemide 3mg once a day. He is due to go back on Monday for a check up to see how he is getting on with his medication , and we need to keep an eye on his resting resp rate when he is relaxed and sleeping.

    I was already really scared after getting his diagnosis , but have been reading up on as much as I can - all vet sites or scientific papers and it sounds like his prognosis is not very good from what I have been reading.

    Has anyone else had similar findings in their dog and how did things turn out. I asked the vet nurse that discharged him and she kind of dodged the question and said the meds should help. I will be asking my vet on Monday. He is tolerating half a lap around the park before he gets cheek puffy , and within a couple of mins will cough, although his cough is nowhere near as bad as it was, He does cough when he gets excited when my partner comes in from work.
     
  2. Siskin

    Siskin Look into my eyes....

    Joined:
    Nov 13, 2012
    Messages:
    15,380
    Likes Received:
    26,453
    My last dog was diagnosed with DCM when she was about 11, she didn’t have a heart murmur. Like yours she had a slight cough, but nothing much really and seemed as energetic as normal given her age. One day however we were away from home on a longer walk which started off very cool but heated up as the day went on. She suddenly went into a collapse and we let her recover under a tree in some cool wet grass and then slowly went on to a nearby pub where we stayed for a couple of hours with her under the table keeping cool, well watered and relaxed.
    As soon as we were able we saw the vet who thought she might have larangeal paralysis so had her in to test for this. He could only find slight LG, certainly not enough for her to collapse, so took an X-ray to have a look at her lungs only to discover a huge heart taking up much of the chest cavity.

    She was prescribed Vetmedin and frusimide and continued for another three and a half years before declining into kidney failure as her heart began to totally fail.

    The vet said to let her do what she wants rather then keeping her on the lead and restricting her, I agreed as my thoughts were to let her enjoy life as she doesn’t know she is so ill. She seemed to know how to restrict herself although I did have my heart in my mouth many times when she went charging off after a rabbit. I found the things that worked best was to keep her weight as low as possible, she was 25kgs much of her life, a small golden retriever, and as cool as possible. So when it was a warmer day shorter walks or walks by water so she could go in and out as she pleased. I also bought a cool coat, the type that is soaked in water prior to wearing and this helped enormously.

    On another point, what kind of food do you give your dog?
    There are ongoing studies in America with golden retrievers and grain free foods causing DCM. Dogs need taurine in order to have a healthy heart and this is normally met in their food particularly meat. However there does seem to be an issue with goldens not retaining taurine so well as other breeds. The grain in grain free foods are often replaced by peas, beans or other pulses and there appears to be an issue in that the pulses prevent adequate take up of taurine which is why goldens who have taurine retention issues have a higher incidence of DCM then other breeds. It’s not a proven science yet, but a good enough reason for me to avoid giving a grain free food that has had the grains replaced by pulses.
    My dog who had DCM was fed most of her life by kibble containing peas
     
    Leila2018 likes this.
  3. Leila2018

    Leila2018 PetForums Newbie

    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2021
    Messages:
    6
    Likes Received:
    3
    Hi Siskin,

    My boy is about the same weight as your golden retriever he usually around the 25kg mark. We have been feeding grain free to our three labs - obviously the vet mentioned about the taurine and the peas etc , the grain free food we were feeding contained Taurine supplement. Obviously we have immediately stopped feeding this to all three dogs on vet advice. Am sorry to hear you have lost your dog to this it really is horrible. Floyd cough was horrendous on the Monday and Tuesday . Our vet has said he is a long way out of the woods yet and I suppose the severe heart failure and DCM is going to complicate things a little .

    We let him do what he wants we don't restrict him to on lead exercise , unless he starts showing he is out of breath he is then brought back home to prevent him from making his heart work even harder . He is sleeping a lot and seems tired all the time.
     
  4. Siskin

    Siskin Look into my eyes....

    Joined:
    Nov 13, 2012
    Messages:
    15,380
    Likes Received:
    26,453
    The research into taurine take up showed the supplements didn’t seem to help. I’m very glad your vet is so on the ball about the taurine and pulses issue not many vets are so well versed, sounds like a keeper:D.
    Jodi also slept more I felt, although she was older. Another thing I noticed is that she not only felt the effects of heat but also of cold especially on some nights when it was colder then usual, something else to be aware of.
    The drugs she took helped enormously and really made a difference and we never had the recurrence of the collapse, whether this was because of the drugs improving heart health or because we were more careful when walking her I don’t know. It did stop her coughing though. She was prescribed another drug to take which although was a drug for kidney failure had been found to support the heart as well, can’t recall the name This was in her last six months.
    The only thing that changed was her bark which became higher pitched and less strong, but this is more likely down to the mild LP then her heart condition.
     
    Leila2018 likes this.
  5. Leila2018

    Leila2018 PetForums Newbie

    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2021
    Messages:
    6
    Likes Received:
    3
    They are a great vets it a 24 hr animal hospital so has MRI , CT , Xray and ultrasound machines there . She was only a young vet so was really impressed that she was aware of the grain free and dcm link. The dogs have always had amazing care there. Always nice to know you can put full trust in those treating your dog/s. Will definitely bear the heat and cold in mind as well. Thank you for your comments
     
    Siskin likes this.
  6. Siskin

    Siskin Look into my eyes....

    Joined:
    Nov 13, 2012
    Messages:
    15,380
    Likes Received:
    26,453
    Good luck with your dog, I hope he improves and has more time with you
     
    Leila2018 likes this.
  7. Leila2018

    Leila2018 PetForums Newbie

    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2021
    Messages:
    6
    Likes Received:
    3
    We are hoping it prolongs his life so we get more time with him, we will never let him suffer and we do take the stance better a day too soon than a day too late, as no one wants there dog to suffer. It is looking like a lot of dogs then go on to develop kidney issues as I joined a few groups on fb as well and they more or less have all said there dogs have gone on to develop a kidney problem and I notice you have said the same. We are going to make sure everyday is a special day for him and we will make sure we make lots of memories and not focus on what is to eventually come.
     
  8. Siskin

    Siskin Look into my eyes....

    Joined:
    Nov 13, 2012
    Messages:
    15,380
    Likes Received:
    26,453
    I suspect as the heart starts to fail more and more then vital organs become affected and the kidneys are one of the more noticeable ones as the effects are easily seen. With Jodi he appetite which had always been good, started to fail until I could hardly tempt her to eat anything so she lost a lot of weight quickly. Then I noticed her eyes looked strange and changed colour, they had a reddish brown cast to them over the whole eye, the vet told me this was due to a blood pressure being high and had burst some of the tiny capillaries serving the eye. She also became less interested in doing anything and began to lose her balance when in the garden. She normally slept in our bedroom but stayed downstairs as she couldn’t cope with going up and down the stairs. She was sleeping most of the time and just lost interest in life. It was then that we decided the kindest thing was to let her go.
    The drugs served her well for three and a half years, the vet did say he was surprised she lasted so long.
     
  9. Leila2018

    Leila2018 PetForums Newbie

    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2021
    Messages:
    6
    Likes Received:
    3
    That is so sad Siskin , we know the inevitable will happen one day , that is good the drugs gave you 3 and a half year extra with your girl Jodie, I hope we are lucky to get that long extra with our boy Floyd.
     
    Siskin likes this.
  10. Burrowzig

    Burrowzig PetForums VIP

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2009
    Messages:
    18,522
    Likes Received:
    12,576
    Fair enough if the food contained peas or pulses. If you still prefer grain free for your dogs - even just the others - there are plenty of foods where the carb source is potato, sweet potato, or parsnip; there seems not to be any link between these and DCM.
    Hope your dog improves and has more years of quality life.
     
    Leila2018 likes this.
  11. Leila2018

    Leila2018 PetForums Newbie

    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2021
    Messages:
    6
    Likes Received:
    3
    Hi Burrowzig, Yes the food did contain peas , Thank you for the info about the potato, sweet potato or parsnip and no links to DCM with them.
    Thank you hopefully he will have a better quality of life now he is on medication, he has coughed a little today but it is nowhere near as bad as it was on the Monday and Tuesday. Just glad I trusted my gut instinct that something was wrong.
     
    Siskin likes this.
  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.
    Dismiss Notice