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JudyK
Star Contributor

Eau Claire, WI. 54703-1729
USA
1349 Posts

Posted - 05/29/2014 :  2:02:30 PM  Send JudyK an AOL message  Reply  Reply with Quote
Last month I had my family friendly sized Affenpinscher to the vet for a checkup and was told "Smokie" has a heart murmur on both sides of her body, and probably wont be around long enough to even pay for a rabies shot next month. I opted not to go the expensive route of diagnostic testing, and examinations to make sure her liver/kidney function isn't harmed with meds that would be prescribed. Ive done a lot of reading online and found recommendations of using diuretics (water pills) to help rid her body of the build up in her lungs. She started to show signs she wasn't feeling well over the holiday weekend, being very tired, not eating much, which could be due to the temps here. I just purchased an all natural vegetable water pill for humans, but have no idea as to what dose to give her. I know this wont cure her, but if the water buildup is conquered, possibly she can live a lot longer. Has anyone had any experience with this, or advice youd share??

SheilaC
Star Contributor

Philadelphia, PA
USA
274 Posts

Posted - 05/30/2014 :  07:28:15 AM  Reply  Reply with Quote
I'm very sorry to hear this Judy. I've worked as a vet tech and as a (human) pharmacy technician and there is absolutely no way of making comparisons between "natural remedies" and those sold as prescriptions since the natural remedies are not regulated so there can be a difference in dosages even from pill to pill.
Your dog may be helped by foods which can help with the electrolyte imbalance however. He can eat bananas- up to a half a banana a day can add a source of good potassium to his body. Eliminate all salt which will retain fluids. Do not force activity as this will cause difficulty with breathing. You can tempt him to eat with boiled chicken and rice. Keeping him comfortable is half the batle. I have seen animals and people heal themselves from conditions like this.
You're in my thoughts.
Sheila
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JudyK
Star Contributor

Eau Claire, WI. 54703-1729
USA
1349 Posts

Posted - 05/30/2014 :  4:24:35 PM  Send JudyK an AOL message  Reply  Reply with Quote
Thank you for the advice. I already make my own dog food using boiled chicken with rice and mixed vegetables that she is turning her nose up at. So I boiled a bunch of chicken breasts up and ran them through the food processor, and added a few tablespoons of sweet potato and only a half a cup of carrots. Shes gobbling that down. I read where dogs eat bananas,Ill pick some up tomorrow for her to eat as a treat, as Ive ordered my son I dont want her to have them, time, and time again. Needless to say, he hasnt listened to me before! These waterpills, I purchased at WalMart are called Sundown Naturals caffeine free, no salt, no gluten or wheat. I may just break a tablet in quarters, and give her a quarter 2x a day, and try it for a couple of weeks to see if theres any difference. I wouldnt think being theyre all natural theyd do any harm at that dose. I also started her on Clindamycin and that seems to have perked her up a bit. Shes drinking a LOT of water to which Ive added a drop of natural honey to. As you mentioned, and I have read online, humans, and animals have been able to live a long time even after being diagnosed as terminal with this. I can only hope I do right for her. I really appreciate your advice, and thank you for your concern. Smokie was a rescue dog that was abused when I got her. She deserves better from me, but Vet care doesnt come cheap when they talk hundreds of dollars that could go into the thousands for a surgery.
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JudyK
Star Contributor

Eau Claire, WI. 54703-1729
USA
1349 Posts

Posted - 05/31/2014 :  1:41:52 PM  Send JudyK an AOL message  Reply  Reply with Quote
As I said in my last post, I was going to try giving Smokie 1/4 of a tablet of the diuretic. Guess this wont work as she threw it up a couple hours after. After much reading, I notice that most dogs with murmurs have a cough and wheezing, plus a rapid heartbeat, But my dog doesnt exhibit these symptoms. The Vet inquired about a swelling just behind the front leg on the exterior side of her chest, and asked if shed had it for long. She didnt explain what it might be, so Im guessing now it has something to do with water retention. Smokie had been what I thought overweight, but possibly this was a sign of the problem found. (Id been making my own fat free, salt free meals for over a yr.) Vet wanted to do a bunch of expensive testing, put her on meds, and them monitor her organs for changes(liver/kidney) by the meds.The Vet also said Smokies level of heart murmur was between a 3-4. Because Smokie is 10 yrs old, I didnt feel the expense was worth keeping her alive possibly a yr or two. Wed already been down this road with another dog that had to be put down two weeks after surgery that cost a couple thousand dollars. As for the loss of appetite, neither of the dogs are eating much during this hot spell. By any chance have you heard of anyone using a product called Young At Heart for a healthy heart? I found it at the site called petwellbeing. Those that have used it for heart murmur provided positive reviews. Im going to order it. Even if it doesnt save my girl, it can be used on the shih-tzu to maintain her heart.
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SheilaC
Star Contributor

Philadelphia, PA
USA
274 Posts

Posted - 06/01/2014 :  10:20:24 AM  Reply  Reply with Quote
Again Judy, I'm not up on the holistic side of meds for pets but I'd say "go for it"!
Two years ago I found an abdominal mass in my my 7 year old Standard Poodle. I live right near the awesome Penn Veterinary University but was told it would be about $2700 for a diagnosis! I took Gus home for a day, spoiled the hell out of him and then had him put to sleep.
In April I took my 11 year old cat there who had been vomiting bloody foam and after having him put to sleep I still received an $800 bill. I absolutely understand the costs of pet medicine and they get you right in the heart!
I curently have a 17 year old cat, a 8 year old cat, a 1 year old cat, and a 2 year old dog. I can handle yearly medical expenses, food, grooming, love and care but when emergency vet visits come around very few people can afford it!
I wish love were what it took to heal all but, if it were, we ourselves would be in perfect health from the love we receive from our pets.
You remain in my thoughts.
Sheila
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JudyK
Star Contributor

Eau Claire, WI. 54703-1729
USA
1349 Posts

Posted - 06/02/2014 :  06:38:42 AM  Send JudyK an AOL message  Reply  Reply with Quote
Sheila, Thank you again for your very kind words. I hope when the time comes I will have the strength you had when you had to put your dog to sleep. Im told Smokie will experience a lot of pain, but at present doesnt show any discomfort. She isnt coughing or wheezing,nor having any trouble breathing, or experiencing a fast heartbeat. She has lost weight, but I dont know if thats from the healthy food, or caused by the murmur. I will continue to monitor, then make my decision at the first sign of discomfort. Thank you again.
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Jnanne
Star Contributor

LA
USA
3049 Posts

Posted - 06/02/2014 :  3:32:25 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
I've had a heart murmur for years and it hasn't affected my health. Couple that with the four animals we have lost in the last year and the several thousand dollars we've paid in vet bills over the same period, and I just had to see what I could find. I looked up canine heart murmurs and found this on the VCA Animal Hospital website:

How is a heart murmur treated?
Heart murmurs are simply abnormal heart sounds caused by turbulent blood flow, and treatment depends upon the underlying cause of the heart murmur or the turbulent blood flow.

Physiologic heart murmurs do not require any treatment; however, regular monitoring of a dog that has evidence of a physiologic murmur is advised to ensure that no other problems develop.

If the heart murmur is caused by an underlying problem, the treatment plan will be based on the diagnosis, and may include a combination of specialized diets, medications and supportive care. Some congenital heart defects can be surgically corrected - these include pulmonic stenosis and patent ductus arteriosus. Your veterinarian will be the best person to advise you on the appropriate course of action to meet your dog's unique needs.

Healthy Pets website offered this:
Treatment of a Heart Murmur

Actually, the murmur itself isn't treated.

The underlying cause of the murmur is treated or not, depending on a variety of factors including the severity of the problem, the age and health of your pet, cost of treatment, etc. A visit to a board-certified veterinary cardiologist can also provide more information about the severity of your pet's heart condition.

Your holistic vet should discuss all appropriate treatment options and partner with you to manage your dog's heart condition.

I recommend all animals suffering from any heart pathology increase their intake of ubiquinol, the reduced form of CoQ10, and Omega-3 essential fatty acids, specifically krill oil. Additionally, holistic vets may recommend Chinese herbs, homeopathic remedies, supplemental amino acids, such as Taurine, Arginine, and Acetyl-L-Carnitine, D-ribose and herbs, such as Hawthorne berry and Cayenne.

PetWave websit offered this:
Heart murmurs cannot be “treated.” Murmurs are simply a clinical finding – a sound heard by a veterinarian through a stethoscope - which can be caused by any number of things. It is the underlying cause of the murmur which must be identified, assessed and addressed by the attending veterinarian. Treatment options will vary depending upon the severity of the underlying condition, once it is determined. Many heart murmurs do not require treatment, even if the murmur is very pronounced. Minor heart murmurs can often be addressed by changes in diet, especially by moving to a low sodium kibble. When a veterinarian detects a heart murmur, especially in an adult dog, she probably will recommend more advanced cardiac testing to assess the overall condition of the dog’s heart, including an echocardiogram (ECG/EKG).

Prognosis
A heart murmur does not necessarily mean that the dog has heart disease. A murmur is simply a sound, detectable through a stethoscope which amplifies the heart sounds, which may or may not reflect anatomical or other heart abnormalities. Heart murmurs cannot be “cured” or corrected. However, if heart disease is the reason for the murmur, the condition may be manageable with medication, exercise and dietary change. The outlook for dogs with heart murmurs can only be determined once the underlying cause of the murmur is identified.

Two of our animals died of kidney failure--from the same litter and died a week apart. The other two from cancer. All of them were 12-13 years old. It is very difficult to decide whether your canine friend is going to live comfortably or suffer, whether medication is more helpful or if the side-effects are worse than the treatment, which advice to take for treatment, etc. I sure don't have any answers for you, but I can offer empathy. I hope your pet stays happy and healthy for a long time.

Jnanne
Silver certified
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JudyK
Star Contributor

Eau Claire, WI. 54703-1729
USA
1349 Posts

Posted - 06/02/2014 :  5:25:00 PM  Send JudyK an AOL message  Reply  Reply with Quote
Hi Jnanne. Once again you are here to help with advice. I did a lot of the same reading you did online, but at this time I dont think Smokie is in any pain so Krill oil isnt needed. Of the reading Ive done, I did find a product especially for the heart that has great reviews for maintaining a healthy heart while also getting rid of the gunk that plugs arteries. This problem could be a hereditary disease, and yet again, it could be caused by teeth problems. When I first got Smokie, as I mentioned above, she was a rescue dog that had been badly abused. It took a long time for her to trust me, and shook like a leaf constantly, or ran and hid if a stranger came near. At the time of her adoption, the clinic advised me first to get her spayed, which I did. Then having that done, they advised me to have her teeth cleaned. That I didnt do, mainly because I felt shed gone through enough just coming into my life, and the Vet would have to put her under to do it. As it was just from getting spayed, Smokie had fallen back on her trust of me, and I sure didnt want to jeopardize any more issues of trust. Of course, out of site and out of mind, I forgot all about the teeth cleaning UNTIL I took her to the Vet here a few weeks ago. The vet prescribed Antirobe to get rid of the infection. All seemed to go well for Smokie thereafter, until just a week and a half ago when she started to lose alot of steam. She no longer wants to go for a walk, or follow me in the yard. She sleeps a lot more than usual, and has lost weight. (I dont know if the homemade foods I make for her caused the weight loss, or if it is this heart murmur the Vet diagnosed. Smokie drinks a LOT of water, but she and the Shih-tzu havent eaten much in the last week. The little dog eats, but then throws up in a couple of hours, where Smokie hasnt eaten anything for the past 4 days or so. Here again, I dont know if this is caused by the high temps and humidity weve been having here lately. My son says his boss's dog is doing the same thing though. This product I found is called Young and healthy heart that I found in a site called wellbeing. It takes a couple of weeks to see any signs of it working. Im might be jumping to conclusions due to the Vet telling me Smokie may not live long enough to get her rabies vaccination sometime this month. Maybe Im looking for signs that arent entirely related, and its all heat related.(I HOPE)It seems funny though because last summer was a real beach, and Smokie didnt react this way then.
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SheilaC
Star Contributor

Philadelphia, PA
USA
274 Posts

Posted - 06/03/2014 :  12:45:13 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
Judy, what I'm now putting together seems more serious but, again, I'm not looking at the dog nor at lab work.
From a human point of view. If a human has a heart murmur and they need to go to the dentist for a simple cleaning they must go on antibiotics before the dental cleaning. The reason being is that the mouth is the easiest access for bad bacteris to enter our blood stream. A heart with a murmur means that one of the valves is not opening and closing efficiently, i.e. it is flapping and not moving in a way to clear debris. Because the valve cannot clear debris this is a perfect storm for bacteria to collect around the heart and cause myocarditis or an infection in the heart wall. Behaviors you would see with this would be lethargy, difficulty breathing, lack of appetite, sleeping.....
It's a very serious condition and is the result of both bacteria being present from the poor dental hygeine and the heart murmur but is not caused by either alone.
You may want to seek out another opinion as your vet may be saying that he suspects this condition based on his observations (as I have here) but another vet may observe something different which is more treatable.
Sheila
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JudyK
Star Contributor

Eau Claire, WI. 54703-1729
USA
1349 Posts

Posted - 06/03/2014 :  5:06:19 PM  Send JudyK an AOL message  Reply  Reply with Quote
Hi again. I had to take the shih-tzu in for her rabies shot today, so I had the opportunity to talk to the vet. I told her Smokie is now vomiting a white frothy liquid, and also asked her for info about this murmur. I didnt learn a lot more than before, but she did say Smokies heart is enlarged and is pressing on her trachea, causing the vomit. she went on saying that Krill oil may have helped, but doubted it because Smokie isnt in any pain. She also made mention of the valves leaking into the chest cavity, and asked if Smokie was coughing or wheezing, to which both answers are a no. Smokie is drinking a ton of water, not eating anything even though she still licks her lips signaling me she is hungry as she always has at meal times. I tried to entice her to eat pieces of a hot dog, even a couple of tablespoons of canned dog food,and a piece of venison, all were turned down. Ive decided to TRY and make it until next week before making the dreaded decision to go forward with euthanasia. Im a wreck just thinking of losing her, but KNOW its the most humane thing to do at this point. I just look at her and I well up. And then she looks at me with sad eyes. The Vet already knows of my plans and said to call anytime I decide and we can come in right away. The vet also told me everything to expect so I am prepared. I WISH I had noticed that swelling on the side of her chest sooner, or maybe its genetic. Possibly this could have been taken care of sooner, and then again not. Im not going after a second opinion.Smokie is 10 yrs old, has lived a good life while with me, and financially, this could cost a lot more money than I have available, and still the outcome could be the same. From the day I first brought her home I bought only the best all natural foods, none of the cheap canned, or bagged. Also, have made her homemade non-fat meals. No matter how much we value our pets, I guess the choice of food doesnt really matter, does it?
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JudyK
Star Contributor

Eau Claire, WI. 54703-1729
USA
1349 Posts

Posted - 06/04/2014 :  09:02:45 AM  Send JudyK an AOL message  Reply  Reply with Quote
The pain and heartbreak has come to a final place. After waking up at 2 am this morning for some odd reason, all of a sudden, I felt a peace come over me, and made my decision to have Smokie put to sleep. I KNOW she was relieved, because she laid her head on my arm while we waited for the Vet to come in the room, then raised her head and licked my face, and then laid her head back on my arm before any meds were given. I WILL miss the BEST friend I ever had. Thank you Sheila for your advice. Im very grateful for sharing your knowledge and advice.
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Jnanne
Star Contributor

LA
USA
3049 Posts

Posted - 06/04/2014 :  10:27:16 AM  Reply  Reply with Quote
Judy, I'm so sorry. This is always a difficult decision, but you are right that ten years is a long life for a large-breed dog. And preventing suffering is a good thing.

My vet told me several years ago that there are treatments for some things now that were not present in the past, but in his opinion there are times when the treatment just makes the animal miserable for several months as the life is lengthened, which he considers torture. For example, he said he does not try radiation or meds to get rid of cancer because the animal doesn't understand that all the side-effects are necessary for the possible eventual outcome that really won't lengthen the animal's life enough to allow for a healthy and happy stretch of time before old age comes along.

Just because a treatment is available doesn't mean it is the best thing to do for your friend.

And yes, what you fed your dog does matter. Because you chose a healthy diet, you two enjoyed each other for a longer period of time than you would have otherwise--and that time was as healthy as possible. You chose well with good quality.

Jnanne
Silver certified
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JudyK
Star Contributor

Eau Claire, WI. 54703-1729
USA
1349 Posts

Posted - 06/04/2014 :  1:23:53 PM  Send JudyK an AOL message  Reply  Reply with Quote
Jnanne, Thank you for your sympathy. Im not so sure though that I bought a lot of extra time with Smokie. This heart murmur had not been there at her last check up a year ago. To me, 6yrs wasnt long enough. I adopted her when she was 4 ys old. Correction, she adopted me. She was the best behaved and mannered dog Id ever had, even though for the first few years she was skidish, and timid. Once she knew I would never hurt her, she took advantage of it by laying in the hallway and wouldnt move so we could get past her. We knew things turned around in her world then! Ive stayed out of the house pretty much since I got home after the procedure, everywhere I look I see her at her best and worst.She lived what I hope were 6 happy years with us. when I was working I took her on the road with me out of town every day rain or snow, cold or warm, and everywhere else I went.Id even lock my car leaving the engine run so shed be warm, or left the AC on to stay cool while I was in a store.
Like you, I believe trying to prolong an animals life can have its repercussions, and sometimes we still lose it after investing big dollars trying to keep them. To try and prolong her life with expensive treatments,testings and surgeries would have served no purpose other than for my selfish needs.ANYONE thats had to experience the loss of their beloved animal knows we did what was best for the animal. There will be no more pets for me again only because Im not getting any younger.
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Marie In Chicago
Mega Contributor

Chicago, IL
USA
62074 Posts

Posted - 06/05/2014 :  11:19:28 AM  Reply  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by JudyK

The pain and heartbreak has come to a final place. After waking up at 2 am this morning for some odd reason, all of a sudden, I felt a peace come over me, and made my decision to have Smokie put to sleep. I KNOW she was relieved, because she laid her head on my arm while we waited for the Vet to come in the room, then raised her head and licked my face, and then laid her head back on my arm before any meds were given. I WILL miss the BEST friend I ever had. Thank you Sheila for your advice. Im very grateful for sharing your knowledge and advice.

Hard decision to make, I'm glad you found peace.
When you mentioned how she laid her head on your arm and licked your face, that was it for me, my eyes welled up with tears.
I'm sorry for your loss.
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JudyK
Star Contributor

Eau Claire, WI. 54703-1729
USA
1349 Posts

Posted - 06/05/2014 :  12:53:39 PM  Send JudyK an AOL message  Reply  Reply with Quote
Thank you Marie. I know in my heart Smokie was letting me know it was okay with her. Not once in the 6 yrs I had her, had she ever laid her head on my arm before. nor looked at me with such sadness in her eyes. Today has been a rough day. EVERYWHERE I go, everything I see, or touch has Smokie's memory attached. I even caught myself thinking Id seen her head looking from around the corner of the bed last night where she always slept guarding my door. This pain is 100x worse than Ive EVER experienced, including the loss of my parents. Hard to believe an animal can mean that much.
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SheilaC
Star Contributor

Philadelphia, PA
USA
274 Posts

Posted - 06/07/2014 :  08:11:29 AM  Reply  Reply with Quote
I'm so sorry Judy. There just are no words.
Namaste.
Sheila
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JudyK
Star Contributor

Eau Claire, WI. 54703-1729
USA
1349 Posts

Posted - 06/07/2014 :  09:42:22 AM  Send JudyK an AOL message  Reply  Reply with Quote
THANK YOU ALL for your kind words of sympathy and advice. Most of all for putting up with venting of the heartbreak. Since Smokie was an Affenpinscher, a member of the pincsher breed family, Ive read these dogs, along with some other large breed dogs are prone to this, and the ending is the same. Im in a MUCH better place today, and thank you for understanding.
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JudyK
Star Contributor

Eau Claire, WI. 54703-1729
USA
1349 Posts

Posted - 06/11/2014 :  4:08:26 PM  Send JudyK an AOL message  Reply  Reply with Quote
Jnanne, Thank you for the personal email, its much appreciated. Ive made the decision to become a foster parent to dogs waiting to be adopted at our local rescue shelter.
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Jnanne
Star Contributor

LA
USA
3049 Posts

Posted - 06/20/2014 :  08:37:45 AM  Reply  Reply with Quote
That sounds like a worthy and fulfilling endeavor. I hope you and the pooches enjoy it. So many creatures need to be loved and it is very rewarding to be able to provide that.

Jnanne
Silver certified
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